Scientists have discovered a connection between women with low muscle mass and poor breast cancer survival rates.
The “Association of Muscle and Adiposity Measured by Computed Tomography with Survival in Patients with Nonmetastatic Breast Cancer” study was published in the JAMA Oncology journal, showing those who had low muscle mass were less likely to beat stage 2 and 3 cancers that had not spread to other organs yet.
The researchers from the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and the Kaiser Permanente at the University of Alberta in Canada examined 3,241 women between 2000 and 2013.
Of this number, 34 per cent were diagnosed with sarcopenia – loss of muscle mass – and had a skeletal muscle index of below 40. The findings revealed those with sarcopenia were 41 per cent more likely to have died over the 13-year period.
The scientists do not know whether this is because sufferers with sarcopenia had a more aggressive form of cancer, and hence had already experienced muscle loss.
Alternatively, those with more muscle anyway would have greater reserves to cope with this deterioration and, therefore, be more equipped to survive the cancer.
What’s more, women who lead healthier lifestyles and subsequently may have a higher muscle mass have a greater chance of battling the cancer diagnosis.
“The authors of the study recommend a healthy body weight with adequate muscle mass for all women to have a better chance at survival of any disease including breast cancers,” the journal reported.
This comes after the Institute of Cancer Research discovered 110 genes that lead to an increased risk of developing this disease, showing just how strong the genetic link is in a breast cancer diagnosis.
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