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The detrimental effects of obesity on health have been well established. The number of overweight and obese people in the U.S. has been on a steady increase for a number of years and some experts speculate it is a major driver of increasing health care costs.
In a recent study, researchers at Geneva University in Switzerland have added yet another health issue that obesity seems to impact directly - breast cancer.
Studying women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in Geneva between 2003 and 2005, the scientists found that those with a BMI higher than 30 were almost twice as likely to present with the more severe stage III or stage IV versions of the disease, and were more than twice as likely to have tumors larger than 1cm. Obese women were also more than five times as likely to have signs of their breast cancer spreading to other parts of their bodies.
Researchers also found that high levels of leptin, a hormone found in fat cells, are linked to tumor development in breast cancer. A leptin test is sometimes used to determine sensitivity to becoming obese, since the hormone has many effects on metabolism.
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