BMI, not body shape increases breast cancer risk

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A woman’s body mass index (BMI) has a larger impact on her risk of developing breast cancer than body shape or waist size, according to a study of nearly 29,000 women.

Previous studies had uncovered a link between waist size and the risk of breast cancer, leading to the thought that body shape, the difference between an “apple shaped” body and a “pear shaped” body for example, had an impact on a woman’s risk. The current study found a link between waist size and a greater risk of breast cancer as well, but once researchers accounted for BMI, the association was no longer present.

"The message is that if you have a high BMI, regardless if you are pear or apple shaped, you are at higher risk of breast cancer," study lead Mia Gadet, PhD, was quoted as saying. "We know being overweight, particularly when the weight gain happened during adulthood, is one of the important modifiable risk factors for breast cancer in post-menopausal women."

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