In Women, Insulin Levels Reveal More Than Expected

A new study has revealed more about post-menopausal women’s breast cancer risk, and the findings may be a surprise to you.

Here’s what women should know.

Can Insulin Levels Predict Breast Cancer Risk?

The Study

Published today (January 15, 2015) in Cancer Research, the study examined over 3,300 non-diabetic women, 497 of whom eventually developed breast cancer in an 8-year period. Co-author and associate professor of cancer epidemiology and prevention Marc Gunter analyzed the weight, fasting insulin levels, and insulin resistance of all participants, terming those with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 25 or more obese.

What Gunter FoundInsulin

The study concluded that weight has less to do with breast cancer risk than previously thought, and that insulin levels are a better indicator of increased cancer risk.

Basically, women who were overweight without any metabolic issues (like insulin resistance or troublesome insulin levels) didn’t have an increased breast cancer risk when compared to women of a “normal” weight.

However, the “normal” weight women who had metabolic abnormalities had the same elevated breast cancer risk as overweight women who also had abnormalities. High fasting insulin levels resulted in a doubled risk of breast cancer for overweight and normal weight women, and overweight women with insulin resistance had an 84% higher breast cancer risk than overweight women without insulin resistance.

What Do These Results Mean?

These findings don’t mean that women should not care about their weight, though.

As Gunter points out, higher insulin levels and insulin resistance often occur in overweight women, so weight control can still help you lower cancer risk. And up to 10% of women with a healthy weight can develop insulin problems, too.

Lower Your Breast Cancer Risk

Experts agree that a healthy diet and exercise are key to lowering cancer risk. In addition, you can better monitor your health, including your fasting glucose and insulin levels, with your nearest Test Smartly Labs. To get started, find your Test Smartly Labs today!

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