Increased adult weight gains have consistently been shown in the
published literature to increase the risk of postmenopausal breast
cancer. To date no published research has examined weight cycling (i.e.
substantial sequential positive and negative weight fluctuations) and
risk of postmenopausal breast cancer. Neither is there any consensus
on how to measure weight cycling. Weight cycling is one of the very few
potential risk factors that can be modified over a woman's lifetime.
Given that weight cycling has a biologically plausible association with
this disease, the examination of weight cycling and postmenopausal
breast cancer may have public health importance.
Outpatient records from Kaiser Permanente Southern California (KPSC)
offer a unique opportunity to retrospectively examine relatively dense
weight measurements and confounders from the 1950's to present. KPSC
has 3.3 million members and reported approximately 4500 breast cancer
diagnoses from 1994 through 1996.
The present proposal is an age and time-of-enrollment matched case-
control study of 500 cases and 500 controls. The Primary Objective is
to determine if weight cycling, using various operational definitions
while controlling for other risk factors, increases the risk of
postmenopausal breast cancer.
Specific Aims are 1) to evaluate if an increased measure of weight
cycling from age 18 increases the risk of postmenopausal breast cancer,
and 2) to apply various operational definitions of weight cycling to
examine agreement and to compare strengths of association with the risk
of postmenopausal breast cancer.
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