Dr. Mary Gemignani, a breast surgeon at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, says, “What’s important about the study is they say it’s never too late. For women who have lost even 22 pounds after menopause they had a significant reduction in breast cancer risk equating to close to 50 percent. And even losing a smaller amount than that--ten pounds—was protective. The question is how, especially with a slowed metabolism in middle age.
Rachel Zinaman, a registered dietician at Memorial Sloan Kettering, says, “Eating small frequent meals. You don’t really want to go more than three to four hours with out food because that makes the metabolism slow down even more. The body starts to think it is starving and you start to hold on to calories. At the next meal, you’ll hold onto those calories even more tightly.” But what you eat also plays a role.
“There are studies that have supported the role of low fat eating and reducing the risk of breast cancer recurrence. It just means you’re choosing lean proteins more fish more chickens, beans, lentils,” says Ms. Zinaman. But what was most ideal was maintaining one’s weight with two to four pounds of where they’ve been for most of their adult lives.
“It’s always best to start healthy eating when you’re younger, and most likely if you can maintain your weight pre-menopause it’s going to be more beneficial later on,” Ms. Zinaman states. “I know it’s easy for us to go out and say that because its not a very easy thing to do, but it is an important intervention that has been shown to reduce breast cancer risk overall,” adds Dr. Gemignani.