Study Finds High Blood Insulin Levels Raise Breast Cancer Risk

Jan 7, 2009 by

Study Finds High Blood Insulin Levels Raise Breast Cancer Risk

A study conducted by researchers from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City has found that women who have high blood insulin levels seem to have a higher risk of getting breast cancer, as compared to those with lower blood insulin levels.

This, according to them, might be the reason behind the link between obesity and risk of breast cancer. Previously, an association has already been established between obesity and high blood levels of insulin.

For the study, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, the insulin levels of 835 female breast cancer sufferers were compared to the levels of 816 women who did not have the disease. The women were part of the Women’s Health Initiative study.

It was found that women whose fasting insulin levels were the greatest had 1.5 times higher risk of getting breast cancer, as compared to women with the lowest levels.

And the risk was magnified for women undergoing hormone therapy, with the study revealing that these women had 2.4 times the risk of getting breast cancer if their levels of insulin were high, as compared to if they were low.

In lab studies, insulin has been found to stimulate breast cell growth. And obesity is known to be a risk factor for breast cancer.

According to the study team, “these data suggest that hyperinsulinemia [excess insulin in the blood] is an independent risk factor for breast cancer and may have a substantial role in explaining the obesity-breast cancer relationship”.

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