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Weight Gain and Breast Cancer     

It is a well known fact that fat kills in many ways. People who have extra pounds in their bodies are more vulnerable to diseases like high blood pressure, problems related to heart functions and also Hepatitis B. Apart from these, recent studies have proved that weight gain and breast cancer are interlinked. A wide majority of females are unaware of what those extra pounds can lead to.

Why does fat gets deposited in the body?

For the body’s metabolism we need energy in the form of ATP. Body derives energy from carbohydrates, proteins and fats. All these compounds are supplied in the form of food that we consume. Carbohydrates are the first priorities for energy. They are broken down instantly. Then proteins are broken down. Apart from the energy, proteins also supply the required amino acids needed by the body. Then comes last but not the least, which is fat. Fat are nothing but derivatives of lipids which are the greatest sources of body energy. When there is adequate supply of carbohydrates and proteins, fats are not broken down. Instead they are stored in the special cells of the body called adipocytes. These adipocytes help in the process of thermogenesis (production of heat to maintain the body temperature). When one is starving and there are no carbohydrates and proteins available, the stored fat is broken down to generate the energy that is needed by the body.

When does one gain weight?

When one eats continuously by consuming more than adequate amounts of carbohydrates, proteins and fats and at the same time is involved in least physical activity, he gains weight naturally. The simplest explanation would be that when a person consumes more calories and spends less calories gains weight. So all the extra pounds deposited in the body are nothing but the unused extra calories.

What is breast cancer?

From the decades, cancer is considered to be dreadful disease. The effective way of treating cancer is still yet to be discovered. Cancer is like a battle with self. Cells, which are the building blocks of the body are of different types and are capable of regeneration to replace the worn out ones. But at times because of varied reasons, cells start growing continuously without any halt even when there is no such need. They grow and form masses of cells called tumors. These tumors restrict the general body mechanism and are also very lethal. This condition is referred to as cancer. As there are many different types of cells in the body cancers are also different types. Few such examples are lung cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, blood cancer, etc.

Breast cancer is no different. Breast cells grow uncontrollably to form lumps in the breasts. It is considered to be the second most prevailing cancer through out the world.

How is weight gain and breast cancer related?

A wide number of studies have shown that 8 out of 10 breast cancer patients are obese. Scientists have found that the majority of the women who are suffering from breast cancer are obese. This is assumed to be because of the higher levels of estrogen in the obese woman. Estrogen is also produced by the fat cells in minute quantities. This production is harmless in the women with average weight. But in case of women with more weight the production of estrogen increases proportionally. The high estrogen levels in the body produced by the fat cells are considered to be the main culprits for triggering the growth of the tumors in the breast. Hence, obese women are more vulnerable to breast cancer. This shows that weight gain and breast cancer are interlinked.

Several studies have also shown that people who are suffering from breast cancer more readily if there is an increase in their body weights.

The below are the conclusions drawn after conducting several studies on weight gain and breast cancer

Extra pounds gainedAge groupRisk of breast cancer in %

66 pounds 18-35 65%

66 pounds 35-50 23%

44 to 66 pounds 35-50 56%

22 to 44 pounds 35-50 31%

66 pounds 50+ 94%

44 to 66 50+ 45%

22 to 44 pounds 50+ 46%

4.4 to 22 50+ 32%


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