Body weight at diagnosis may be an important predictor of breast cancer death in early-stage disease say researchers based on findings of a recent study.
Among patients with early-stage breast cancer in the study, researchers found women in the highest weight category of 175 pounds and over experienced a 2.5-fold increased risk of dying from breast cancer compared to women in the lowest weight category of less than 133 pounds.
It was found that women with estrogen receptor-negative cancer had a two-fold increased risk of dying from breast cancer compared to women with ER-positive cancer, regardless of their stage at diagnosis. Heavier women with early-stage disease and with ER-negative tumors had a nearly five-fold increased risk of dying compared to lighter women with ER-positive tumors.
However researchers say they did not find an increased risk of breast cancer death with increasing body weight for women with higher-stage disease but rather the risk of breast cancer death increased for women with higher-stage disease who had ER-negative cancers regardless of body weight.
More than 50 studies have examined the relation of body size and breast cancer survival and most of these studies show an increasing likelihood of breast cancer death with increasing body size. However, researchers say the effect can be reversed and there is substantial evidence suggesting that physical activity is associated with a reduced risk of developing breast cancer.