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Obesity and Menopausal Status in Breast Cancer

Clifford A. Hudis, MD
Published Online: 1:04 PM, Sat September 6, 2014
Clifford A. Hudis, MD, Chief, Breast Cancer Medicine Service, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, professor of medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College, discusses obesity and menopausal status as determinants of procarcinogenic breast inflammation.

Clinical Pearls

  • The peak incidence of hormone-sensitive breast cancer occurs in the decade after menopause.
  • There is an association between hormone-sensitive breast cancer and obesity.
  • Some of the inflammatory mediators that are generated in the fat tissue of obese patients are stimulants for the production of aromatase, and thereby, estrogen.
  • Predictors of these inflammatory mediators in the breast include both obesity and the postmenopausal state. This suggests that after menopause, there is a low-grade, chronic systemic inflammation in some people that may contribute to postmenopausal breast cancer.

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