-- Robert Preidt
MONDAY, Oct. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Having a very high or low
body-mass index or high waist-to-hip ratio raises the risk of death
among breast cancer patients, but this association varies some by
race and ethnicity, a new study suggests.
Body-mass index (BMI) and waist-to-hip ratio are both measures
of body fat, and both affect overall and breast-cancer-specific
risk of death, according to the researchers.
The researchers analyzed data from more than 12,000 white,
black, Hispanic and Asian-American patients in the California
Breast Cancer Survivorship Consortium.
"Overall, we found that patients with breast cancer who were underweight, extremely obese or had high levels of abdominal body fat had the worst survival," Marilyn Kwan, a research scientist in the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research, said in an American Association for Cancer Research news release.
Compared to normal-weight women, underweight women had a 47
percent increased overall risk of death and extremely obese women
had a 43 percent increased risk. Compared to those with the lowest
waist-to-hip ratio, women with the highest waist-to-hip ratio
(highest level of abdominal fat) had a 30 percent increased overall
risk of death and a 36 percent increased risk for
Further investigation revealed that the association between
weight and death risk differed by race and ethnicity. Although this
study found an association between the two, it did not prove a
"Among non-Latina white women, being underweight and morbidly obese at breast cancer diagnosis was associated with worse survival, yet this relationship was not found in the other racial/ethnic groups," Kwan said. "Instead, African-American women and Asian-American women with larger waist-to-hip ratios had poorer survival, an observation not seen in non-Latina white women and Latina women."
The findings, scheduled to be presented Monday at a meeting of
the American Association for Cancer Research, in San Diego, support
the common recommendation to maintain a healthy weight throughout
life, Kwan said. She noted, however, that the long-term impact of
weight on survival after breast cancer might not be the same in all
Research presented at medical meetings should be viewed as
preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
The American Cancer Society has more about
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