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Obesity, Women & Cancer

Obesity, Black Women and Breast Cancer

A new study finds black women are more likely to be diagnosed at a more advanced stage of breast cancer than white women. This has been associated with social and cultural differences in the past. But a new research suggests obesity may also be to blame.

Researchers from the University of Maryland conducted a study to assess to what extent obesity explains the cancer stage at diagnosis. The researchers looked at more than 900 cases of breast cancer that were diagnosed between 1991 and 1997. They gathered information on age, race, weight and height. Pathology reports were also obtained from the hospital medical records.

The study reports black women are more likely than white women to be diagnosed with stage II or greater breast cancer. Furthermore, black women are more likely to be overweight than white women. Researchers report a high body mass index was significantly associated with an advanced stage of breast cancer at diagnosis. However, they also found at least 50 percent of the elevated risk for advanced stage breast cancer could not be explained even though socioeconomic status and obesity explain part of the risk.

SOURCE: Journal of Women’s Health & Gender-Based Medicine.

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