Me: Normal BMI, but with tummy fat. I’ve had TNBC twice. I’m 11 years past the first diagnosis. two years past the second.
Women whose fat accumulates around their stomachs and internal organs—called visceral fat—are more at risk of estrogen negative breast cancer, including triple-negative, according to research published in the Oncologist. The increased risk comes even if they are not overweight—that is, if they have a normal body mass index (BMI). The risk increases is they are past menopause. [PAT’S NOTE: This is me.]
By contrast, overweight women whose fat accumulates in the thighs, hips, or buttocks—called subcutaneous fat—are more at risk of estrogen positive breast cancer. In this case, having a high BMI and being premenopausal increases the risk.
“A possible reason is that subcutaneous fat is involved in estrogen production, which may promote ER+ breast cancer,” says corresponding author Zhigang Yu at the Second Hospital of Shandong University in China. “Visceral fat is more closely related to insulin resistance and may be more likely to promote ER- breast cancer.”
For the study, researchers recruited 1,316 Han Chinese women between 25 and 70 in Northern and Eastern China who were newly diagnosed with breast cancer and compared their body types to women who had not had breast cancer.
Asian women tend to be slimmer than their American counterparts, but those who are overweight typically carry visceral fat. Subcutaneous fat is more common in the United States. Could that be why ER+ cancer is more common here?
To sum up:
• Women with belly fat who are past menopause are at increased risk of TNBC, even if they are not overweight.
• Women who over overweight, with fat in thighs, hips, and buttocks and who are premenopausal are at risk of ER+ breast cancer.