Scientists have suggested that women with a BMI of 25 or more should be screened more regularly for breast cancer. A new study has discovered that women who are overweight are at a greater risk of developing aggressive tumours.
The researchers found that overweight women are at a higher risk of being diagnosed with larger tumours than women who have a healthy BMI. People who are diagnosed with large tumours often receive a weaker prognosis.
The scientists stated that overweight women are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer.
The study was conducted by the Karolinska Institute in Sweden.
Over 2,000 women who suffered from breast cancer took part in the study. The participants developed breast cancer between 2001 to 2008.
In Sweden, the women had undergone mammograms every 18 months to two years.
The team analysed the size of a tumour, the women’s BMI and the measure of obesity.
Their results showed that women who were overweight developed bigger tumours, this may be because they have larger breasts, which made it more difficult to locate a tumour, thus causing a delay in their diagnosis.
Another reason for this may be due to the tumours rapid growth rate.
Dr Fredrik Strand is a researcher at the Karolinska University Hospital, he told The Telegraph, “Our findings suggest that women with high BMI should consider shorter time intervals between screenings.”
Experts have asked women to be aware of the signs of breast cancer. Knowing the signs can help catch the disease at an earlier stage.
The signs and symptoms are:
- A lump in your breast
- A change in size or shape of your breasts
- A change in the skin such as redness or puckering
- Pain in your armpit or breast
- A change on or around the nipple such as a rash or flaky skin
- Swelling in your armpit or collarbone area
- A change in the direction or shape of your nipple
- An unusual discharge from one or both of your nipples
The experts may believe that more frequent screenings will help, but others have expressed their concerns about the suggestion.
Sophia Lowes from Cancer Research UK told the BBC that there is not enough evidence to alter the guidelines.
She shared, "Breast screening has harms as well as benefits. It saves lives by helping detect breast cancer at an early stage, but harms include some women being diagnosed with cancer that would never have caused them problems in their lifetime.”
"The time between screening is designed to help the benefits outweigh the harms overall."
Experts recommend checking your boobs for irregularities monthly. Visit your doctor if you are concerned about any unusual symptoms.