Nearly 1 in 5 Breast Cancer Survivors Gain Significant Weight After Treatment

by Ella

A new study presented at the Endocrine Society’s annual meeting suggests that a significant portion of breast cancer survivors experience weight gain following treatment.


Key Findings

The study, involving over 4,700 breast cancer survivors, found an average weight gain of 2 pounds over six years.
Almost 20% of the participants gained more than 10% of their body weight within the same timeframe.
Risk Factors for Excess Weight Gain


Researchers identified several factors associated with an increased risk of gaining more than 10% of body weight:


Lower initial body weight


Hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer

More advanced cancer stage at diagnosis

Younger age

BRCA2 gene mutations

Treatment with chemotherapy, endocrine therapy, or more aggressive breast surgery

Importance of Early Intervention

The ability to identify these risk factors early could allow doctors to implement preventive measures and improve long-term outcomes for survivors.

Weight Gain and Cancer Recurrence

Prior research suggests a link between weight gain and an increased risk of breast cancer recurrence. Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial for overall health and reducing this risk.

Expert Insights

Dr. Louis Vandermolen, a breast oncologist, emphasizes the importance of weight management for reducing recurrence risk. He highlights that maintaining a healthy weight can be as beneficial as some medications.

Dr. Bhavana Pathak, a medical oncologist, points out how fat tissue can contribute to inflammation, another potential risk factor for cancer development.

Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle

The American Cancer Society recommends a healthy diet, regular physical activity, and weight management for breast cancer survivors to reduce the risk of recurrence and improve overall well-being.

A Compassionate Approach

Dr. Vandermolen acknowledges the challenges associated with weight management after cancer diagnosis and emphasizes the importance of avoiding feelings of shame or guilt. He highlights the stressful nature of the experience and the potential shift in perspective following a life-threatening illness.


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