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Study finds moderate weight loss reduces hormones linked to breast cancer.
New research suggests that weight loss through exercise and dieting helps overweight women lower hormones, decreasing their odds of developing breast cancer, according to U.S. News and World Report.
Even a moderate amount of weight loss can significantly reduce levels of circulating estrogens that are associated with an increased risk of breast cancer, study co-author Dr. Anne McTiernan, director of the Prevention Center at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, said in a news release.
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It is the first randomized, controlled clinical trial to test the effects of weight loss on sex hormones in overweight and obese postmenopausal women - a group that has a higher risk for breast cancer.
The study is published in the May 21 online issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
Epidemiologists have long noted a link between obesity and increased risk of postmenopausal breast cancer.
The Los Angeles Times reported the study finds losing as little as 5 percent of one's body weight — 10 pounds for a 200-pound woman — drives down estrogen and other hormones that raise breast cancer risk.
"This shows it's never too late to make lifestyle changes to reduce your risk for breast cancer," said McTiernan.
The study said other ways to reduce the risk include: breastfeeding, reducing alcohol consumption and steering clear of hormone-replacement therapy.