According to US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDD), obesity is associated with an increased risk for 13 types of cancer, including breast cancer.
For individuals at high risk for developing breast cancer, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and BMI is important for reducing the likelihood of developing the disease. In some situations, weight loss surgery may be a good option to help reduce the overall risk.
According to a new study presented by Cleveland Clinic Florida researchers at the 36th American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) Annual Meeting at ObesityWeek 2019, weight loss surgery cut the overall risk of developing cancers linked to obesity by 20%. In fact, women with obesity and known genetic susceptibilities for breast cancer were 2.5 times more likely to develop breast cancer than women with the same genetic risk who underwent weight loss surgery.
“Our findings suggest bariatric surgery could significantly prevent the development of cancer in patients with a higher risk than the average population, even in those genetically predisposed,” said study co-author Emanuele Lo Menzo, MD, Ph.D., FASMBS, Associate Program Director, General Surgery Residency Program, Cleveland Clinic Florida in Weston. “The effect we saw on patients genetically predisposed to developing breast cancer was remarkable and we believe this is the first time a study has shown such an impact. Further studies are needed to determine the factors, including weight loss, that may have led to such risk reduction.”
It is interesting to note that a similar study of patients with severe obesity (BMI of 35 or higher) published in Annals of Surgery earlier this year showed weight-loss surgery was associated with a 33% decrease in the risk of developing any type of cancer, and a 40% decrease in the risk of being diagnosed with a cancer associated with obesity.
It is important to remember, even individuals with a healthy BMI are still at risk for developing cancer. The importance of achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is to reduce the likelihood of developing breast cancer – unfortunately, it is NOT guaranteed prevention.
If you struggle to maintain a healthy weight, you are not alone! In fact, maintaining a healthy weight is a challenge for most adults today. The CDC reports more than 70% of American adults are overweight.
Maintaining a healthy weight is also very important after breast cancer treatment to decrease the risk of a recurrence. However, add the impact of a breast cancer diagnosis and the side-effects of some treatments, losing weight after breast cancer is typically even harder. Weight loss surgery may therefore also be an option for some survivors to consider if all other options have been exhausted.
Most people know that calorie control and regular exercise are crucial in losing and maintaining weight, but few people realize 80% of weight loss is achieved through better food choices. Even when we think we’re doing well by choosing the salad, we don’t realize the dressing has more calories than a Big Mac! A consultation with a nutritionist or dietician is a very good place to start your weight loss journey, and can provide extremely useful guidance in planning healthier meals.
A leader in breast cancer treatment education and shared decision-making, Breast Advocate® is excited to announce the release of our updated free app for breast cancer surgery and breast reconstruction. Thank you to our users for providing the valuable feedback that has helped make our app even better!
The latest updates greatly improve user experience and navigation, and give the innovative breast cancer app a fresh new look. Users can now customize the content they see on their dashboard via a personal feed, and easily find specific content using our optimized search engine.
Co-created by breast cancer specialists and patient advocates, the Breast Advocate® app provides anyone with breast cancer, a history of breast cancer, or at high risk for developing the disease a much needed voice in their treatment decision-making.
Should you have a lumpectomy or mastectomy? Should you have prophylactic surgery? Should you go flat or have breast reconstruction? If you want reconstruction, what type is best for you? Should you have gene testing? Our breast cancer app can help with these questions and much more.
The groundbreaking Breast Advocate® Wizard walks users through a detailed questionnaire to better understand their personal situation, preferences and goals. Our proprietary software combines evidence-based treatment options with the user’s preferences to create customized recommendations that are in line with the user’s specific needs. Breast Advocate® empowers users with the knowledge they need to fully discuss their treatment plan with their medical team and ensure they make the best decisions for them.
Users also have access to the latest expert opinions, published studies, helpful resources, and a community ready to provide support.
Download the latest version of the Breast Advocate app here.
With the exception of skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women, and the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the US. Women with a high risk of developing breast cancer have the option of lowering their risk by taking certain medications.
The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recently made two updates to their recommendations for risk-reduction medications:
“The USPSTF recommends that clinicians offer to prescribe risk-reducing medications, such as tamoxifen, raloxifene, or aromatase inhibitors, to women who are at increased risk for breast cancer and at low risk for adverse medication effects”. This recommendation is for women who have never been diagnosed with breast cancer, but have at least a 3% risk of developing the disease within 5 years.
“The USPSTF recommends against the routine use of risk-reducing medications, such as tamoxifen, raloxifene, or aromatase inhibitors, in women who are not at increased risk for breast cancer… This recommendation applies to asymptomatic women 35 years and older, including women with previous benign breast lesions on biopsy such as atypical ductal hyperplasia or lobular hyperplasia, and LCIS. This recommendation does not apply to women who have a current or previous diagnosis of breast cancer or ductal carcinoma in situ.” In this group of patients, the side effects associated with taking these medications would likely outweigh the prevention benefit.
The USPSTF based its recommendations on the evidence of the benefits and potential side effects of taking any of these risk-reducing medications, and an assessment of the balance. The USPSTF does not consider the cost of care in any of their assessments.
The USPSTF also states that it recognizes that clinical decisions involve more considerations than evidence alone. We strongly encourage a shared decision-making approach between patients and their healthcare team to determine what’s best for you. If you would like to learn if you could benefit from taking a risk-reducing medication and whether taking one is right for you, please discuss the full range of options, risks and benefits with your physician.
You can read the full USPSTF statement here.