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Cancer & Your Weight

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Gail Brown wanted to tip the scales in her favor after battling breast cancer. "The whole lifestyle changes, not a diet, but a lifestyle."

Brown's doctor is the lead author of a new study that shows heavier women are more likely to have their cancer come back.

"Patients in this study who were obese had about a 30% higher risk of having a recurrence of their breast cancer and 50% higher risk of dying from their breast cancer," says Dr. Joseph Sparano.

Researchers at the Montefiore Einstein Center for Cancer Care studied close to 5,000 women. They suspect hormones, higher insulin levels and inflammation, which are associated with extra body fat, could play a role in driving cancer growth.

The link is strongest in women who have breast cancer that is fueled with the hormone estrogen. That's the most common type in the United States.

"This is important because a relatively simple intervention dietary intervention, exercise, that leads to weight reduction could have profound impact in reducing the risk of recurrence for thousands of women."

At 65, Brown has been cancer free for five years. "I'm trying to do all the things that will help me live a happy and healthy life."

She's lost 30 pounds and she's hoping to keep the weight off to keep cancer away.

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