Cancer is complicated.
When it comes to figuring out risk, things get even more complicated — you have to include predisposition, excess weight, race & ethnicity, and environmental factors to boot.
While breast cancer risk factors like genetic predisposition and excess weight have been studied for a while, they're finding new ways they impact a woman's chances of surviving the disease. Weight, an extreme body mass index or high waist-to-hip ratio, was shown to increase risk for mortality among patients with breast cancer — and this association varied by race/ethnicity.
It was no small study, either — the data included 12,025 patients with breast cancer. They discovered that among non-Latina white women, being underweight or morbidly obese at the time of a breast cancer diagnosis was associated with lower survival rates. This was not found in the other racial/ethnic groups.
For other groups, including African Americans, they took a look at abdominal fat. Here's what the researchers said:
“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."
What does this mean? It means that breast cancer recommendations and treatment should be more personalized!
Doctors should be doing this anyway, instead of considering everyone a statistic. Not only will it help the recommendations and treatments, but it might help the patient feel more at easy knowing they're getting specific care!
[Image via AP Images.]