British researchers have found that a growing waistline may be a risk factor for the development of breast cancer. They base their conclusion on a study involving almost 93,000 women who participated in a large ovarian cancer screening trial in England.
All of the women were over the age of 50 and had gone through menopause at the study's start in 2005.
In addition to basic information about height and weight, as well as family history of breast and ovarian cancer, the women were asked about their current skirt size and what it had been in their 20's.
Almost 1,100 women developed breast cancer during the course of the 10-year study conducted by the University College London.
Three out of four women who developed breast cancer, also increased in skirt size, from an average US size 8 or European size 40-44 in their 20's to a size larger - a US size 10 or European 42-46 - by the time they were around 64 years of age.
Researchers found that going up one skirt size every decade was associated with a 33 percent increased risk of breast cancer after menopause. An increase of two skirt sizes was linked to a 77 percent greater risk of breast cancer.
An expanding waistline has been cited as a risk factor for other cancers as well, including cancers of the pancreas, ovaries and womb. Fat stimulates the production of the hormone estrogen which has been linked to breast and ovarian cancer in particular.