A woman's chance of Cancer, found that women who lost weight after were less likely to develop invasive than those who maintained or gained weight.increases with age, but a new study suggests there are steps women can take that may help lower their risk. The study, published in the journal
"The women [in the study] who lost 5 percent of body weight over just a three-year period ended up having a 12 percent statistically significant reduction in breast cancer incidence," study author Dr. Rowan Chlebowski from City of Hope National Medical Center told CBS News. The study included more than 60,000 women.
Chlebowski says that prior to this study it had been known that obesity is a risk factor for older women developing breast cancer. However, it hadn't been established if losing weight could affect risk.
About a third of postmenopausal women in the U.S. are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"It looks like once you get obese there's a lot of body signals that stimulate breast cancer growth and so the question is even a little moderate change in diet and moderatewill reduce those signals," Chlebowski said.
Weight gain of more than 5 percent was not associated with breast cancer risk overall in the study, but those women had a higher risk of triple-negative breast cancer. That type of breast cancer tends to be more serious and aggressive.
The findings could spur women like Sara Baron to take action. "I'm postmenopausal. I could stand to lose a few pounds and it's just one more incentive to preserve on that path," she told CBS News.
She says it's empowering to be able to do something to impact her risk of getting breast cancer and hopes other women will do the same.