A new study conducted by researchers in the US has uncovered a link between obesity and breast cancer.
Published in the British Journal of Cancer, scientists from the Hormel Institute at the University of Minnesota found that low levels of the protein hormone adiponectin could increase the risk of the disease, the Associated Press reports.
The researchers suggested that high levels of the hormone could guard against oestrogen receptor positive tumour development.
Earlier studies have shown that levels of the hormone, which is evident in body fat, tend to increase when people lose weight, according to the news provider.
Professor Margot Cleary, lead researcher, said: "In the developed world, as the average body mass index climbs, it's vital that we understand the interaction of adiponectin with other growth factors such as leptin in breast cancer spread."
According to Cancer Research UK, breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in the UK.
Over the last 20 years, breast cancer rates have increased by over 50 per cent, with 44,000 women diagnosed with the disease each year.
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