A recent study has shown
that leading a healthy lifestyle can help prevent breast cancer in women.
The study, carried out at the Cancer Center of the
University of Colorado, has come up with suggestions regarding ways to minimize
breast cancer risk in menopausal women.
The study's lead author
Erin Giles revealed that her team of researchers used nutrient tracers to
monitor fat and sugar and to track where the body stored excess calories and
found that in the lean mice models excess glucose and fat were absorbed by the
liver, mammary and skeletal tissues, while in the obese mice models they were
used to fuel the growth of tumors. The study also found that the tumors that were present in obese models had a higher level of
progesterone receptors present on them and that these receptors provided the
tumors with metabolic impetus for growth.
In order to understand the importance of the study in humans the
research group invited the opinions of gene analysis experts David Astling and
Aik-Choon Tan. These experts analyzed 585 human breast cancers and discovered
that the expression of progesterone receptor provided the same metabolic
advantage to tumors in humans as well. In the obese it was seen that the
metabolic response to fat and sugar was the same as observed in type-2
Due to this similarity the use of metformin, a type-2 diabetes drug,
was tested by the researchers on their post menopausal breast cancer model. It
was found that the tumors showed reduced expression of progesterone receptors
and that the size of the tumors underwent a prominent reduction.
All these observations suggest that there occurs a window in menopausal
women which acts as an opportunity to reduce their breast cancer risk by weight
Weight gain in women entering menopause is not healthy, found the
researchers. Along with obesity, weight gain can cause breast cancer and
promote tumor growth. These tumors that form in obese women have a metabolic
advantage; besides, the inability in these obese candidates to store excess
calories in healthy tissues may promote the growth of the tumors!
Although drugs have the ability to control breast cancer, researchers
suggest that it would be better to control the onset of the deadly disease,
particularly in menopausal women, by controlling weight gain through regular
exercise and healthy diet.
'While drugs may be useful in controlling breast cancer risk in obese,
postmenopausal women, our results imply that a combination of diet and exercise
may be equally if not more beneficial,' said Giles.
The results of the study have been published in
the journal Cancer Research.