• Women's Cancer Research Foundation

Body Mass Index and Risk of Second Cancer Among Women with Breast Cancer


Breast cancer survivors are at increased risk for developing a second primary cancer compared with the general population. However, it is unclear if an increased body mass index (BMI) has an impact on the development of these secondary malignancies.


In a 2021 study, researchers evaluated 6481 patients, of whom 822 (12.7%) developed a secondary cancer. BMI value at the first cancer diagnosis was reviewed within the context of all secondary cancers, obesity-related second cancers, any second breast cancer, and the incidence of estrogen receptor–positive (hormone receptor positive) breast cancers. Most breast cancer cases were associated with women who were overweight (33.4%) or obese (33.8%) and diagnosed at stage I disease (62.0%). For every 5 kg/m2 increase in BMI, the risk of any second cancer diagnosis was increased by 7% for these breast cancer survivors.


Findings underscore the need for effective prevention and public health strategies for breast cancer survivors who are clinically overweight or obese.

In this study, there was a significantly increased risk of second cancers observed with breast cancer survivors who exhibited an increase in BMI. These findings underscore the need for effective prevention and public health strategies for breast cancer survivors who are clinically overweight or obese.


About Women’s Cancer Research Foundation The Women’s Cancer Research Foundation (WCRF) is one of Southern California’s and the nation’s most active research organizations for female cancers. We are dedicated to serving the interests of patients, families, and friends affected by women’s cancers. WCRF partners with physician-scientists nationally to make differences in women’s lives by offering hope, strength, and progress.


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