It was already known that obesity is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. Now a new study presented at an American symposium on breast cancer suggests that diabetes in women after the age of 60 is also associated with an increased risk of this type of tumour. According to the study, up to four years after a diabetes diagnosis, women of any age had a 37 percent higher risk of developing breast cancer.
For this study, researchers looked at the medical records of more than 2,700 patients for up to 10 years before they developed breast cancer and compared their records with those of over 20,000 patients who never developed this type of tumour.
They concluded that obesity after age 60 increased breast cancer risk by 55 percent. This means that 15 obese women out of 100 would be diagnosed with breast cancer, versus fewer than 10 out of 100 women in the general population. The link between breast cancer and diabetes was maintained even when taking into account patients’ obesity and other criteria (such as blood cholesterol levels).
These finding will have to be verified by other analyses before they can be confirmed, but in the meantime they do provide further incentive for women of any age to adopt a healthy lifestyle. By doing so, they are reducing their risk of obesity, diabetes and breast cancer, not to mention heart disease.