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New study shows that body mass index may be the largest lifestyle risk factor in breast cancer

Of all the lifestyle factors that increase a woman's risk of developing breast cancer, body mass index (BMI) may have the greatest influence.

A new study conducted by the University of Oxford and published in the British Journal of Cancer made breast cancer breakthroughs news by inspecting data on over 6,000 women and focusing on the various influencing factors on sex hormone levels. According to NetDoctor, the study's results showed that BMI had the largest impact on sex hormone levels, followed by alcohol and cigarettes.

Dr. Gillian Reeves, co-author of the study, stated "Our study shows that changes in hormone levels might explain the association of established risk factors such as obesity with breast cancer risk. Other studies have found that weight and alcohol can affect hormone levels and this research confirms and adds to these findings."

Other lifestyle risks that can contribute to breast cancer include having no children or giving birth to your first child after age 30 and the use of oral contraceptives, the American Cancer Society reports. Breast-feeding for an extended period of up to two years may help reduce the risk of breast cancer, as can physical activity and regular exercise.
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