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Obesity May Raise Breast Cancer Death Risk for Some

Study found younger, obese patients with estrogen receptor-positive disease were more likely to die

continued...

The standard definition of obesity was used -- a body-mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher. A woman who is 5-foot-4 and weighs 175 has a BMI of 30.

The study was funded by Cancer Research UK, the UK Medical Research Counsel and the British Heart Foundation.

"This study forces us to pay attention to obesity in premenopausal women," said Dr. Courtney Vito, a breast surgeon and assistant clinical professor of surgical oncology at City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center in Duarte, Calif.

This study strongly suggests that women need to pay attention to weight control, regardless of their menopausal status, Vito said.

Weight is a risk factor that can be controlled, Vito said. "Once you are 50 and have breast cancer, you can't go back and breast-feed [which reduces risk]," she said. Nor can women change family history or other risk factors, she said.

But "being overweight is something you can take control of," Vito said.

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