A new study suggests women whose waist size increases with age have a greater risk of developing breast cancer.
We already knew that excess body fat increases the chance of developing breast cancer, but this study found that where that fat is located may make a difference.
Researchers say this may be because extra stomach fat can boost levels of estrogen, a hormone the breast cancer cells rely on for fuel.
Researchers from University College London found that women between 20 and 60 had a one third greater chance of developing breast cancer after menopause if they went up a skirt size every 10 years.
To come to these results, researchers questioned over 90,000 women over 50 about their current and past skirt sizes.
Researchers hope these findings will encourage women to take steps to cut down on belly fat in order to decrease their risk of developing breast cancer.
Co-author of the study Usha Menon said, “Given that obesity is now emerging as a global epidemic, from a public health prospective our findings are significant as they provide women with a simple and easy to understand message."
Researchers noted an increasing waistline has also been linked to pancreatic and ovarian cancers.
Other unrelated studies show stomach fat can also increase the risk of developing diabetes, heart disease and depression.
This video includes images from Getty Images and AbcKolyya / CC BY SA 3.0.