HealthDay News — In postmenopausal black and Hispanic women, obesity increases the risk of certain types of breast cancer, according to two separate studies published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

“We’ve known this for a long time for white women, but now we are seeing this also in Hispanic women,” said Esther John, PhD, MSPH, of Prevention Institute of California in an AICR news release.

To examine a correlation between obesity and cancer among Hispanic women, the researchers conducted a population-based case-control study including 1,262 premenopausal and 2,023 postmenopausal Hispanic women.

Being overweight or obese increased the risk for estrogen receptor (ER)-negative and progesterone receptor-positive breast tumors among postmenopausal women, reported the investigators.

“Breast cancer appears to have different risk factors in younger versus older women but by far, breast cancer is more common among postmenopausal women,” noted John.

In another study, the researchers investigated analyzed the associations of obesity with different hormone-receptor types among over 15,000 black women.

Excess weight was linked a 31% increase in ER-positive tumors in postmenopausal black women; risk was also higher for postmenopausal women who were lean as young adults and gained weight in adulthood, noted the investigators.

“Our findings show that, similar to white women, African American postmenopausal women can reduce their risk of ER positive breast cancer by maintaining a healthy weight,” said the researchers.

“Yet one study is not enough, we need to know more about what African American women can do to prevent and survive breast cancers of all types, which are often aggressive and deadly.”


  1. John EM et al. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. 2014; doi:10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-13-1007-T
  2. John EM et al. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. 2014; doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-14-0560