Percentage body fat in breast cancer patients at the University College Hospital, Ibadan: a case-control study
Background: Breast cancer is the most important female malignancy in terms of incidence and mortality in Nigeria and globally. This burden of breast cancer requires preventive efforts directed at modifiable risk factors especially within a population at risk. Percentage body fat has previously been found to be higher among breast cancer patients compared to matched controls in global studies.
Objective: To investigate the association between percentage body fat and breast cancer in the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan.
Methodology: The percentage body fat, estimated through two different techniques (bioelectric impedance assay and skin fold thickness), of 70 breast cancer patients and 71 age and gender matched controls were compared.
Results: The cases of breast cancer had lower mean percentage body compared to their controls. However, the difference was only significant when estimated by skinfold thickness (SFT). There was an independent association between low percentage body fat (SFT) and breast cancer on multiple logistic regression with an OR of 0.921 (P < 0.005).
Conclusion: The study indicated an independent significant association between low percentage body fat and breast cancer. This pattern is peculiar to our environment and is due to the advanced stages at which breast cancer patients present to the UCH, Ibadan. As such, there is a need for advocacy to encourage patients to present early. Furthermore, larger longitudinal or cohort studies need to be done in Nigeria to precisely define the relationship between percentage and breast cancer.
Keywords: Risk factor, breast cancer, percentage body fat, anthropometry