Researchers from University College of London have come up with a novel low cost method, to estimate the risk of developing postmenopausal breast cancer.
It doesn’t involve any needles, just a little shopping.
Want to give it a try ?
Shopping for a skirt
In the past
When you went shopping for a skirt in your mid-twenties – what size did you buy ?
You are shopping for a skirt, not a blouse.
To help, let’s do an example. Suzi was wearing a size 14 skirt.
In the present
Okay. Now if you went shopping for a skirt today – what size would you buy ? Suzi is currently wearing a size 20 skirt.
And time passes
How many years have elapsed, since you went shopping for that skirt in your mid-twenties. To figure this out, take your current age and subtract 25 from this number.
Suzi is currently 57, then 57-25 = 23.
And skirt sizes change
Now figure out how many skirt sizes you have changed by, in the intervening years.
NOTE : The transition may not have been a smooth line, you may have had fat years and thin years, for our calculation, we’re only interested in the end points. At 25 and NOW.
In the case of Suzi, she has gone from a size 14, to a size 20. Since officially there are no half sizes, she has transitioned from a size 14, to a size 16, to a size 18 and is now size 20. That is 4 skirt sizes.
Last step. Work out how your dress size has changed over the years. Take the number of skirt sizes and divide this by the number of years.
So for Suzi. She’s changed 4 skirt sizes in 23 years. She got bigger – so it is a plus 4. There are a few people, who may have shrunk by 4 skirt sizes. If this is you, then your number would have a minus in front i.e. -4. Congrats, you’re definitely bucking the trend.
Now for the number crunching………. calculator time. Work out by how much your skirt size has changed every 10 years.
To do this. Divide the number of skirt sizes, by the number of years and then multiply by 10.
Suzi’s calculator moment 4/23 X 10 = 1.7.
So Suzi’s skirt size has increased by 1.7 every 10 years.
What is your score ?
The big revelation
The team of researchers calculated this number for almost 93 000 healthy British women, who had been enrolled in the UK Collaborative Trial of Ovarian Cancer Screening (UKCTOCS) . And then they waited. During the waiting period, 1090 women received a diagnosis of breast cancer. Ouch ! As the team crunched the numbers – a pattern emerged.
- Ladies whose skirt size had remained unchanged during the years, had a 1 % risk of breast cancer.
- Ladies whose skirt size had increased by 1 skirt size, every 10 years, were 33 % more likely to get that breast cancer diagnosis.
- Ladies whose skirt size had increased by 2 skirt sizes, every 10 years, were 77 % more likely to get that breast cancer diagnosis.
Significantly – skirt size was a better predictor of breast cancer risk, than BMI (body mass index), the number that is usually used to assess how “fat” someone is. This calculation considers your weight and your height, not the size of your middle.
So our Suzi is in trouble. Her increase in skirt size of 1.7 x every 10 years, puts her in a “high” risk category.
Does it mean SHE WILL GET breast cancer.
No. Lots of other factors such as genetics, reproductive history, environment and luck, all contribute to risk.
But this data does confirm that a BIG BELLY is a risk factor.
And it is a risk factor you can do something about. If you need help, check out our Tame the Sugar Gremlin programme, it will equip you with 10 weapons you can use to do something about your oversized “middle”.
The big belly factor
The biology that underpins a BIG BELLY, is insulin resistance. And insulin resistance is always associated with bad health.
The breast cancer risk, probably arises, because in the postmenopausal women, the belly fat is an estrogen producer. And estrogen helps breast cancer cells divide, like crazy.
Time for a tummy tuck ?
Hope your score put you in the low risk category. If not, it is not too late, dropping a skirt size, will decrease your risk. So will feeding your beasties.
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Interested in learning more about the chemistry behind those extra fat layers ?
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