Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial to avoiding breast cancer, fighting it once you’ve been diagnosed, and reducing its risk of recurrence. Yet most cancer patients are overweight and few know of the relationship between weight and cancer. Some stats:

• Women who gained 55 lbs. or more after age 18 had almost 1½ times the risk of breast cancer compared with those who maintained their weight, [July 12, 2006, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.]

• Many doctors reduce the levels of chemotherapy for obese women, potentially hurting their chances of survival, according to research at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

• Breast cancer survivors who ate a low-fat diet—of 32 grams a day, or roughly 20 percent of the daily allotment of fat— lowered their risk of recurrence, in some cases by an impressive 42 percent, according to the Women’s Intervention Nutrition Study (WINS).

• Canadian researchers discovered that breast cancer survivors, for the most part, have a surprisingly unhealthy lifestyle, being obese and low on physical activity. [June 1 2008 issue of Cancer, the journal of the American Cancer Society.]

• A majority of women in a recent study were unaware that being overweight increased their cancer risk. [October 2008, Obstetrics and Gynocology.]

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