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SABCS: Obesity, Alcohol May Affect Breast Cancer Outcomes

Obesity linked to risk of distant metastases, death; alcohol may raise risk of recurrences

MONDAY, Dec. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Obesity is associated with poorer breast cancer outcomes, and moderate to heavy alcohol consumption may increase the risk of breast cancer recurrences, according to research presented at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, held from Dec. 9 to 13.

In one study, Marianne Ewertz, M.D., of Odense University Hospital in Denmark, and colleagues analyzed 1977 to 2006 data from the Danish Breast Cancer Cooperative Group database on nearly 54,000 breast cancer patients. Compared to women with a normal body mass index, they found that overweight and obese women were more likely to have advanced disease at the time of diagnosis, a poorer response to adjuvant therapy, and an increased risk of distant metastases and death from breast cancer.

In a second study, Marilyn L. Kwan, Ph.D., of Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, Calif., and colleagues studied 1,897 women diagnosed with early-stage invasive breast cancer who had 349 recurrences and 332 deaths during an eight-year follow-up. They found that women who consumed at least three to four drinks per week had a 1.3-fold increased risk of recurrence. They particularly found that the risk was elevated in women who drank at least two glasses of wine per day, and in post-menopausal or overweight women who consumed moderate to heavy amounts of alcohol.

"Considering the few studies that have addressed alcohol and its influence on breast cancer prognosis, and that the increased risk of recurrence was observed in only some subgroups, our results should be confirmed in other prospective studies," Kwan said in a statement. "Yet, these results can help women make a more informed decision about lifestyle choices after a diagnosis of breast cancer."

Abstract - Ewertz
Abstract - Kwan
Symposium Information

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