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Increasing BMI Ups Risk for Second Cancer After Breast Cancer

TUESDAY, April 27, 2021 -- For women with incident breast cancer, the risk for developing a second cancer is increased with increasing body mass index (BMI), according to a study published online April 5 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Heather Spencer Feigelson, Ph.D., M.P.H., from the Kaiser Permanente Colorado Institute for Health Research in Denver, and colleagues examined the correlation between BMI and second cancers among 6,481 patients with incident invasive breast cancers, of whom 12.7 percent developed a second cancer.

Breast cancer was diagnosed at a mean of 61.2 years; most cases were overweight or obese (33.4 and 33.8 percent, respectively) and were diagnosed at stage I (62.0 percent). The researchers found that for every 5-kg/m2 increase in BMI, there was an increase in the risk for any second cancer diagnosis, obesity-related cancers, a second breast cancer, and a second estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer (relative risks, 1.07, 1.13, 1.11, and 1.15, respectively).

"These findings have important public health implications given the number of breast cancer survivors with excess body weight," Spencer Feigelson said in a statement. "Our findings truly underscore the need for effective weight loss prevention strategies, including nutrition and physical activity guidelines for breast cancer survivors."

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