Obesity and Recurrence Risk
I am somewhat hesitant about this posting as I know that obesity/weight control is a continuing theme, and I surely know how very difficult it is to lose or even maintain weight after breast cancer. The last thing I want to do is make anyone worry more. But, on balance, trying to stay a healthy weight is something that is (sort of) under our control, and most of us want to know about anything we can do do maximize our chances of staying well. These are comments from BreastCancer.org about a recent study that suggested that the recurrence risk for obese woman is higher than for their thinner sisters.
In my experience, women have often had success with Weight Watches. There is a program, Going Forward, at BIDMC which is a weekly exercise/nutrition group for people post cancer. If you are interested in that, contact Be Well at BIDMC.
Here is the beginning and then a link:
Obese and Overweight Women May Have Higher Risk of Recurrence
Much research has shown that being overweight or obese increases the risk of breast and other cancers. Now, a large study suggests that overweight and obese women diagnosed with early- stage, hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer have a higher risk of the cancer coming back (recurrence) and are less likely to survive the disease.
The study was published online on Aug. 27, 2012 by the journal Cancer. Read the abstract of "Obesity at diagnosis is associated with inferior outcomes in hormone-receptor-positive operable breast cancer."
Doctors use body mass index (BMI) to determine if a person is underweight, healthy weight, overweight, or obese. BMI takes both height and weight into account:
BMI lower than 18.5 is considered underweight BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 is considered healthy weight BMI between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese The researchers looked at the outcomes of 4,770 women who had participated in one of three studies on chemotherapy or hormonal therapy treatment regimens after surgery that were sponsored by the National Cancer Institute. All the women had been diagnosed with early-stage disease and had surgery to remove the breast cancer.
All the women received treatment after surgery, including chemotherapy and/or hormonal therapy if the cancer was hormone-receptor-positive.
Women who had heart, kidney, liver, or bone marrow problems weren't included in the study. This allowed the researchers to be fairly sure that any effects on recurrence and survival were because of obesity and not other health problems.
Compared to healthy weight women:
women who were obese when diagnosed had a 30% higher risk of recurrence and a 50% higher risk of dying from breast cancer no matter the characteristics of the cancer obese and overweight women diagnosed with hormone-receptor-positive, HER2-negative breast cancer had worse disease-free survival (the length of time a woman lives without the cancer growing) and worse overall survival (the length of time a woman lives with or without the cancer growing)