Overweight can cause breast cancer

Overweight is the main trigger of the most common form of breast cancer. The consumption of alcohol and smoking occupy the second and third place, respectively, reveals a study conducted by scientists from the Oxford University , In England.

The most common form of breast tumors develops due to an increase in the level of sex hormones, and the factors mentioned above, increase the production of these.

The studies, published in British Journal of Cancer (British Journal of Cancer), have shown that postmenopausal women with high levels of estrogen and progesterone have two to three times more risk of developing breast cancer than women with lower levels.

It has long been known that the factors that influence the levels of these hormones - pregnancy, the contraceptive pill and menopause - can change a woman's risk of suffering from the disease.

Hormone levels

The researchers analyzed the records of about 6,300 women postmenopausal who had participated in 13 different studies. They compared data on age, type of menopause (natural or caused by surgery), body mass index (BMI), smoking, alcohol consumption and reproductive factors of the participants.

It was found that the greatest impact on the levels of sex hormones it is the BMI - the average between the height and the weight of a person -, in particular to maintain a BMI of 25 or more.

The scientists point out that a high BMI is what causes the greatest increase in the level of estrogen and progesterone. This explains why women postmenopausal and obese are the ones with the highest risk of breast cancer.

It was found that women who drink some 2.5 units of alcohol per day (a bottle of beer or a medium glass of wine) have higher levels of all the hormones, mainly estrogen; just like women who smoke 15 cigarettes up to date.

The Dr. Gillian Reeves , director of the study, commented:


Our study shows that changes in hormone levels may explain the association of established risk factors, such as obesity, in breast cancer. Other studies have found that body weight and the alcohol they can affect hormone levels and this research confirms it. "

For its part, the Dr. Julie Sharp , of the organization Cancer Research Uk, who funded the study, states that "this is an important study because it shows how alcohol and weight can influence hormone levels."


Understanding your role in the development of breast cancer is vital. We know that the risk of the disease may be influenced by family history and age, but there are other things women can do to reduce the risk. Keep a healthy body weight and stop consuming alcohol they are key to reducing risk. "

Video Medicine: How can obesity cause cancer? (March 2024).