The study followed 47,000 women in Sweden between the ages of 29 and 49 over 20 years, with 1,500 of them developing breast or bowel cancer. The results show the women’s risk of an early death after being diagnosed with breast cancer following the menopause goes up by three per cent for every year they are overweight as an adult. 

Kotryna Temcinaite, Research Communications Manager at Breast Cancer Care and Breast Cancer Now, said: 

This study adds to mounting evidence surrounding the connection between obesity and breast cancer and helps to underscore the importance of maintaining a healthy weight over a lifetime to, not only lower risk of developing the disease, but also lower the risk of dying early from any cause following a diagnosis. 

As there are many factors that can have an effect on someone’s weight, it’s vital we support women to do what they can to lower their risk of developing the disease and, if they receive a breast cancer diagnosis, help them live longer. Maintaining a healthy weight, drinking less alcohol and being physically active can all help keep breast cancer risk as low as possible. Even small changes - like walking more or cutting down on processed foods – can be a great start.

Anyone concerned can call our free Helpline on 0808 800 6000 for information and support.