Healthy Lifestyle Helps to Prevent Breast Cancer in Menopausal Women

by Dr. Reeja Tharu on  January 29, 2013 at 12:17 PM Health Watch
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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.
Healthy Lifestyle Helps to Prevent Breast Cancer in Menopausal Women
Healthy Lifestyle Helps to Prevent Breast Cancer 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 diabetes.

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 management.

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.

Source: Medindia

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