I read on the morning I wrote this entry that Olivia Newton John, the famous singer and actress, passed away yesterday at the age of 73. Ms. John, known for her pop songs and appearance in the movie Grease with John Travolta, succumbed to breast cancer. She has donated a tremendous amount of money and time into cancer research.
Some facts about breast cancer:
- Hundreds of thousands of cases each year will be diagnosed in the U.S.
- 99% of the cases involve women
- Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related death (lung cancer is number 1)
- 12% of women (1 out of 8) will be develop breast cancer
- Increasing age and family history are risk factors, especially the family history
Does weight control play a role in breast cancer risk? In post-menopausal women, studies have shown a 30% increase in breast cancer in obese women vs. non-obese. The reason why obesity increases cancer risk: Studies performed in 2021 show have found increased creatine synthesis by the adipocytes (fat cells) adjacent to breast cancers in obese mice. The creatine is transported into the cancer cells, producing larger tumors, possibly due to greater energy availability.
There are many co-morbidities associated with poor weight control and aside from breast cancer, other malignancies that have higher risks with poor weight control are: colon, uterine, ovarian, pancreatic and stomach.
One of Ms. John’s most famous songs from the early 1980’s was Let’s Get Physical. Let’s all of us get more physical (exercise) and follow the dietary strategy needed to get that weight down and avoid many major potential health issues, including cancer. Rest in peace Ms. Johns.