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For women who receive lab test results indicating they have breast cancer, the prognosis may be more favorable if they are not overweight. New research indicates that women who are overweight or obese at the time of their diagnosis may be more likely to experience a recurrence of cancer after their initial treatment.
The findings have important implications for the prevention of breast cancer deaths. The researchers said that breast cancer rates have been climbing along with obesity rates. The fact that the two phenomena may be linked suggests that encouraging healthier lifestyles may be an effective method for reducing the number of women affected by breast cancer.
For the study, researchers from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston examined the medical records of 1,909 women treated for breast cancer between 1997 and 1998. The results showed that those who were overweight or obese were significantly more likely to experience a recurrence.
"When you consider that data from 2007 to 2008 show that 68 percent of U.S. adults aged 20 years and over were overweight or obese, as compared to only 56 percent of the same group in 1994-1998, you can see the way the problem is growing," said lead researcher Jennifer Ligibel.
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