Most of us are aware that being overweight has been associated with an increased risk of developing heart disease and hypertension, but it can also increase a woman’s chance of breast and uterine cancer. By using a person’s height and weight, a BMI (body mass index) can be determined. A measurement of 25 to 29 is considered overweight and 30 or higher is considered obese. According to a recent study, 40% of American women meet the clinical definition of obesity.
The exact relationship between obesity and certain female cancers is not perfectly understood, but there seems to be three factors that may play a role:
- A body being in a state of chronic inflammation is pro-carcinogenic, and obesity is considered a chronic inflammatory state.
- There are enzymes in fat cells which increase the production of estrogen, and an elevated level of estrogen has been associated with a higher risk of breast and endometrial (uterine) cancer.
- Fat cells produce hormones that may stimulate tumor growth.
Please speak to your health care provider to determine your BMI, and start using the walking shoes your loved ones gave you for the recent holidays!