Obesity increases the risk of certain types of breast cancer in postmenopausal black and Hispanic women, according to two new U.S. studies presented at the American Institute for Cancer Research’s (AICR) annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

One study included research on 3,285 Hispanic women which indicated that being overweight or obese increased the risk for estrogen receptor (ER)-negative and progesterone receptor-positive breast tumors among postmenopausal women.

“We’ve known this for a long time for white women, but now we are seeing this also in Hispanic women,” study author Esther John, Ph.D., M.S.P.H., a senior research scientist at the Cancer Prevention Institute of California, said in an AICR news release.

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The other study included research on more than 15,000 black women which indicated that being overweight or obese increased postmenopausal women’s risk of ER-positive breast cancer by 31 percent. The researchers also found that the risk was nearly double among black women who were lean as young adults and gained weight in adulthood.

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“We know that breast cancer has several subtypes and there is growing evidence that these subtypes have different risk factors,” study author Elisa Bandera, M.D., of the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, said in the news release.

“The distribution of these subtypes and risk factors are different for African-Americans and Hispanics compared to white women.” One study is not enough, said Bandera. “We need to know more about what African-American women can do to prevent and survive breast cancers of all types, which are often aggressive and deadly.”


  1. “Obesity Increases Risk of Certain Breast Tumors Among African American and Hispanic Women.” American Institute for Cancer Research. October 30, 2014.