Monday, September 29, 2014

Save the Tatas!!! Does Body Weight Increases your Breast Cancer Risk?

October is take care of your girls month!

I don't know about you, but Breast Cancer has impacted my family many times. My Mother, my Grandmother, my Aunt, and my Cousin all are beautiful, smart, strong women. They are SURVIVORS! I am so proud of all of their courage, their drive to get healthy, their attitude to keep going and not stop even in the darkest of times. 
With everything they have gone through, I wanted to see what could I do to try and lower my risk. To my surprise there are many things that you can do! Of course nothing is 100% - but wont hurt!! 

Body weight and BMI

Body mass index (BMI) is a measure used to define body weight status (normal, overweight and obese) in research studies. BMI includes a measure of height and weight, so it is a better comparison of body weight status than weight alone. Many studies have linked BMI to breast cancer risk. However, BMI affects risk for pre- and postmenopausal women differently.

Body weight and premenopausal breast cancer risk

Premenopausal women who are overweight or obese have a 20 to 40 percent lower risk of breast cancer than those who are lean, according to Susan G Komen. This benefit is not well understood and may be limited to estrogen receptor-positive breast cancers.

Although being overweight or obese may lower breast cancer risk before menopause, weight gain should be avoided. Most breast cancers occur after menopause, and any weight you gain before menopause you may carry into your postmenopausal years. 

Let's be honest, if you are overweight, or have struggled with your weight your whole life, you are not all of a sudden going to drop all the weight put on over all those years in 1 day before you enter menopause. Many times, you do not even know when menopause will start. Why take a chance? 

Body weight and postmenopausal breast cancer risk

Postmenopausal women who are overweight or obese have a 30 to 60 percent higher breast cancer risk than those who are lean. 30 - 60 percent higher!

Being overweight after menopause may increase the risk of estrogen receptor-positive breast cancers more than estrogen receptor-negative cancers. A meta-analysis that combined the results of four studies found postmenopausal women who were heavy had a 70 percent greater risk of estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer compared to those who were lean. 

How can body weight effect my cancer risk?

In postmenopausal women (whose ovaries no longer produce much estrogen), estrogens mainly come from fat tissue. Fat tissue contains an enzyme called aromatase that converts hormones called androgens (made mostly in the adrenal glands) to estrogens. So, heavier women have higher blood estrogen levels than leaner women. This extra estrogen likely explains at least some of the increased breast cancer risk among postmenopausal women who are overweight. Women with higher estrogen levels have an increased risk of breast cancer compared to women with lower estrogen levels.

Women who are heavier also tend to have higher levels of insulin in their bodies compared to leaner women. Some studies have shown an increased risk of breast cancer among postmenopausal women with high levels of insulin including women with type 2 diabetes.

Weight gain and breast cancer risk

Gaining weight in adulthood appears to increase a woman’s risk of postmenopausal breast cancer. In the largest study to date, (According to Susan G Komen) women who gained about 20 pounds after age 18 had a 15 percent higher risk of postmenopausal breast cancer compared to women who gained little or no weight. Women who gained 55 pounds or more after age 18 had a 45 percent higher risk.

It’s not just the weight gained from age 18 that seems to be important to risk. Even women who gain weight after menopause appear to increase their risk of breast cancer. Findings from the same study showed that women who gained 20 pounds or more after menopause had an 18 percent higher risk of breast cancer compared to those who gained little or no weight after menopause.


Losing weight after menopause may help lower risk of breast cancer. One large study found women who lost four to 11 pounds after menopause had more than a 20 percent lower risk of breast cancer compared to women whose weight did not change, 22 pounds or more 30-50 percent lower risk. There are more studies going on.

It's never too late to adopt a healthy lifestyle

Making healthy lifestyle choices has benefits at any age. Being more active, eating a balanced diet and becoming more aware of your health can be physically and mentally rewarding at any point in life.

So in honor of my family members who struggled, fought and won their fight against breast cancer, in honor of those who fought and won, or fought and lost - Any Challenge Pack (fitness program of your choice & 30 day supply of Shakeology) purchased 9/29/14 - 10/31/14 through me and my website as your FREE Beachbody Coach - a percentage of the proceeds will be donated to Susan G Komen to continue the research and the fight against Breast Cancer. When you order, just send me a message "Save the Tata's" at or on Facebook "Kristin Palapoli Nicolellis"- so the donation can be made. 

My next Challenge & Accountability Group will be starting October 6th. Reserve your spot early!! 

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Click here to fill out the Challenge Group Application