Breast Cancer Risk Linked to Waist Circumference

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Breast Cancer Risk Linked to Waist Circumference
Breast Cancer Risk Linked to Waist Circumference

(HealthDay News) -- Larger waist circumference correlates with increased risk of postmenopausal breast cancer, but not beyond its contribution to body mass index (BMI), according to a study published online April 9 in Cancer Causes & Control.

Noting that high BMI is a risk factor for postmenopausal breast cancer, Mia M. Gaudet, PhD, from the American Cancer Society in Atlanta, and colleagues examined whether a larger waist circumference is associated with risk beyond its contribution to BMI. Data were analyzed for 28,965 postmenopausal women who reported weight and waist circumference on a questionnaire in 1997, and were followed for a median of 11.58 years.

The researchers identified 1,088 cases of invasive breast cancer during follow-up. A larger waist circumference was associated with an increased risk of breast cancer (hazard ratio per 10 cm increase in waist circumference, 1.13; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.08 to 1.19), without adjustment for BMI. 

There was no longer a correlation after adjustment for BMI (hazard ratio per 10 cm increase in waist circumference, 1.00; 95% CI, 0.92 to 1.08). BMI was significantly associated with risk before and after adjustment for waist circumference (hazard ratio per 1 kg/m², 1.04 [95% CI, 1.03 to 1.05] and 1.04, [95% CI, 1.02 to 1.06], respectively).

"Our data support the value of measuring BMI to capture the increased risk of postmenopausal breast cancer associated with larger body size," the researchers wrote.


  1. Gaudet MM, Carter BD, Patel AV, et al. Waist circumference, body mass index, and postmenopausal breast cancer incidence in the Cancer Prevention Study-II Nutrition Cohort. Cancer Causes Control. 2014;doi:10.1007/s10552-014-0376-4.

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