Weight Gain in Turkey
This is an article by Basarm and colleagues from Istanbul about weight gain in Turkish women post chemotherapy. It confirms what we all already know: most women gain weight, usually 10-15 pounds, following adjuvant chemotherapy for breast cancer. I am posting the abstract and will then add a link if you want to read more. Again, there is really nothing new here, but I was amused and reassured that women get "fat" in Turkey, too!
Abstract Weight gain is a well-known and unwanted complication of adjuvant chemotherapy in breast cancer. We observed that the female Turkish cancer patients frequently gain weight with adjuvant treatment of breast cancer and planned to examine the magnitude of this problem in early breast cancer patients treated at our hospital. A total of 176 early breast cancer patients who received their adjuvant systemic therapy in Marmara University Hospital between 2003 and 2007 are included in the study. We recorded their weight before and after chemotherapy and also a year after chemotherapy to find out whether the change with weight is transitory. We have also recorded demographic information, including the educational level, menopausal status, the type of chemotherapy or hormonal treatment administered stage of disease, marital status, occupation and the underlying diseases to analyze the relationship between change in weight and these parameters. Median age of patients was 53 and 72% of patients were postmenopausal. Educational level was equally distributed for primary education (27%), high school (40%), and university (33%). The majority of the patients (76%) was married, had two children (69%) and was housewife (60%). Family history of any cancer was high (32%). Most of the patients had stage II cancer (56%), received anthracyclines?/- taxane based chemotherapy (98%) and had no underlying disease (68%). The majority also did not smoke (73%) or drink alcohol (93%). A total of 67% and 72% patients gained weight upon completion and one year after completion of chemotherapy. Mean weight before the chemotherapy, upon completion of chemotherapy and one year after completion of chemotherapy were 68.9 kg, 70.6 kg (P = 0.000) and 71.9 kg (P = 0.000) respectively. Mean body mass index was 27.1 at baseline, 27.8 upon completion of chemotherapy (P = 0.000) and 28.3 one year after completion of chemotherapy (P =0.000). Age, menopausal status, multiparity and presence of comorbid diseases had statistically significant impact on weight gain following adjuvant therapy in breast cancer patients (P = 0.000, P = 0.008, P = 0.015 and P = 0.017 respectively).
This study shows that Turkish women with early breast cancer gain weight after adjuvant systemic therapy, in line with European and American counterparts. This increase in weight is maintained at least one year afteradjuvant therapy. Given the adverse consequences of weight gain in terms of both breast cancer prognosis and general health, it is necessary to inform patients about this change and to develop strategies for weight maintenance during and after systemic therapy.