It’s common knowledge that keeping fit and maintaining an optimal weight are great ways to achieve overall health. But for breast-cancer survivors, the stakes are much higher.

Research indicates that excess weight can lead to increased levels of the hormone estrogen — and estrogen levels have been tied to the development of breast cancer in women.

Dr. Duc Vuong, a weight-loss surgeon in Houston, spells out the issue plainly.

“Overweight women have larger breasts,” he says. “These women have more exposure to estrogen, which we think increases their risk of several different cancers, including breast and uterine cancer.”

Vuong says more women are beginning to recognize the connection between excess weight and cancer, and that’s prompting them to take action.

Women on the move
After her second breast-cancer diagnosis two years ago, Ilya Sloan, who was then in her mid-60s, realized that the 200 pounds she carried on her short frame could have played a role in her getting the disease.

Her oncologist told her about a clinical research weight-loss study at the Arizona Cancer Center, where Sloan works as a community events coordinator.

Read more at MSNBC