A Beastcancer.org post about how the location of fat may influence what kind of breast cancer you’ll get caught my eye.
Body Mass Index is important because there is lots of clinical evidence that being overweight (over 25) increases your risk both of getting cancer, and having the cancer reoccur if you are diagnosed. Because….fat makes estrogen, apparently.
Not surprisingly, my own hormone-receptor positive status breast cancer was diagnosed when I was premenopausal (I’m in extended chemo-pause right now, maybe forever. Possibly my body has given up completely) and fits right in with their findings:
Here’s the money shot:
“The researchers found that women with more subcutaneous fat — fat around the thighs, hips, and buttocks — measured by BMI, were more likely to be diagnosed with hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer, especially if they were premenopausal.
Women with more visceral fat — fat around the internal organs — measured by hip-to-waist ratio/belly fat, were more likely to be diagnosed hormone-receptor-negative breast cancer, especially if they were postmenopausal. This higher risk of developing hormone-receptor-negative breast cancer was seen in women with a high waist-to-hip ratio, even if they had a low BMI.”
Yep, I’m pear-shaped. I have thunder thighs. And thus my cancer was hormone-receptor positive.
The biggest implication of this status for me beyond the obvious, constant, widespread barrage of “lose weight”…is for women at risk for breast cancer who are taking Tamoxifen preventively. If you’re visceral instead of subcutaneous fat, it may not be worth the heart disease risks or other side effects. Definitely something to discuss with your doctor.
Here’s the original study published in The Oncologist: