Large weight gain raises risk for recurrence among breast cancer survivors

Apr 05, 2011

Breast cancer survivors who experience large weight gain have an increased risk of death after diagnosis, according to research scientists at the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, Calif.

Breast cancer survivors who experienced large weight gain (10 percent or more over their pre-diagnosis weight) were 14 percent more likely to experience a cancer recurrence compared to women whose weight remained stable (within 5 percent of pre-diagnosis weight) following diagnosis.

The study results are being presented at the American Association of Cancer Research 102nd meeting, to be held April 2-6 in Orlando, Fla.

"Most women are not gaining a large amount of weight following breast cancer diagnosis," said lead researcher Bette Caan, DrPH, a senior research scientist at the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research. "However, our analysis showed an association with poorer outcomes overall for those who do." She explained that moderate weight gain did not affect breast cancer outcomes.

"Women tend to worry about gaining weight after a breast cancer diagnosis," said Caan. "But it's actually only the larger weight gains that increase the risk of poor outcomes."

Researchers also found that women who have large weight gains after diagnosis tend to be within normal weight ranges to begin with. In addition, the post-diagnosis effect of the weight gain tends to be greater for women who were originally thinner, they explained.

Women who were leaner to begin with at diagnosis ( less than 25) and who later gained 10 percent or more, had a 25 percent higher risk of cancer death and also had a higher risk of recurrence compared to women whose weight remained stable (within 5 percent of pre-diagnosis weight) following diagnosis.

Large weight gain occurred in 16 percent of women overall. Just over 19 percent of women with a less than 25 fell into the large weight gain category, but only 11.1 percent of women with a BMI greater than 30 fell into that category.

Data for the study came from the After Breast Cancer Pooling Project, which includes 18,336 survivors from four prospective cohorts — three in the United States and one in Shanghai.

Caan explained that more research is needed to identify those women most at risk for extreme weight gain and those whose puts them at risk for poor cancer outcomes.

Explore further: Two studies identify a detectable, pre-cancerous state in the blood

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Weight gain increases breast cancer risk

Jul 13, 2006

Women who gain weight as young adults have a greater risk of developing breast cancer after menopause than women who maintain or lose weight, a study says.

Breast cancer more aggressive among obese women

Mar 14, 2008

Women with breast cancer have more aggressive disease and lower survival rates if they are overweight or obese, according to findings published in the March 15 issue of Clinical Cancer Research, a journal of the American Associ ...

Obesity not linked to breast cancer in Mexican-American women

Nov 08, 2010

Obesity was not associated with breast cancer risk in Mexican-American women, even when measured at numerous ages throughout a woman's lifetime, according to data presented at the Ninth Annual AACR Frontiers in Cancer Prevention ...

Obesity linked with poorer breast cancer outcomes

Dec 10, 2009

Breast cancer patients with a high body mass index (BMI) have a poorer cancer prognosis later in life. Specifically, their treatment effect does not last as long and their risk of death increases.

Recommended for you

Hospital volume not linked to costs of cancer surgery

3 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Hospital surgical volume does not appear to correlate with Medicare payments for cancer surgery, according to research published online Nov. 24 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

How a common antacid could lead to cheaper anti-cancer drugs

5 hours ago

A popular indigestion medication can increase survival in colorectal cancer, according to research published in ecancermedicalscience. But in fact, scientists have studied this for years - and a group of cancer advocates want t ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.