BMI May Affect Breast Cancer Survival Rates

It is been known for quite some time that there is a strong association between obesity and breast cancer rates. A recent article highlighted a new study that showed that having a very high or low body mass index or high waist to hip ratio can increase the risk of death among breast cancer patients; however, the association appears to vary by race and ethnicity according to the study. Body mass index or BMI and waist to hip ratio are both measures of body fat, and each has an effect on the overall breast cancer specific risk of death according to the study. Researchers studied data from more than 12,000 white, black, Hispanic, and Asian-American patients based 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. Contrasting with normal weight women, underweight women had a 47% increase overall in the risk of death from breast cancer when compared with extremely obese women who had an increased risk of 43%. This figure contrasted with those who had the lowest waist to hip ratio, women with the highest waist hip ratio (which equates to the highest level of abdominal fat) had a 30% increased overall risk of death as a result of breast cancer. Upon further investigation, the association between weight and death risk differed when race and ethnicity were factored in. Although the study found a link between the two, there was no cause-and-effect link proven. “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.” While these findings help to further solidify the recommendation that women maintain a healthy body weight it is important to note that ethnicity does play a role. Dr. Seify specializes in both reconstructive as well as cosmetic plastic surgery. It is important in both populations to reiterate the importance of good health. Cosmetic plastic surgery, specifically body contouring procedures including abdominoplasty and liposuction will yield the best results for patients who are within their ideal body weight range. It is tempting to believe that body contouring procedures such as liposuction and abdominoplasty will address weight problems. The reality is these procedures are not weight loss procedures and the majority of patients lose inches and not necessarily pounds. Dr. Seify encourages patients who are considering body contouring procedures to contact his office and schedule a consultation to discover which body contouring procedures would be most beneficial for them.

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