Weight and weight change following breast cancer: evidence from a prospective, population-based, breast cancer cohort study

Abstract

While weight gain following breast cancer is considered common, results supporting these findings are dated. This work describes changes in body weight following breast cancer over 72 months, compares weight with normative data and explores whether weight changes over time are associated with personal, diagnostic, treatment or behavioral characteristics. A population-based sample of 287 Australian women diagnosed with early-stage invasive breast cancer was assessed prospectively at six, 12, 18 and 72 months post-surgery. Weight was clinically measured and linear mixed models were used to explore associations between weight and participant characteristics (collected via self-administered questionnaire). Those with BMI changes of one or more units were considered to have experienced clinically significant changes in weight. More than half (57%) of participants were overweight or obese at 6 months post-surgery, and by 72 months post-surgery 68% of women were overweight or obese. Among those who gained more weight than age-matched norms, clinically significant weight gain between 6 and 18 months and 6 and 72 months post-surgery was observed in 24% and 39% of participants, respectively (median [range] weight gain: 3.9 kg [2.0-11.3 kg] and 5.2 kg [0.6-28.7], respectively). Clinically-significant weight losses were observed in up to 24% of the sample (median [range] weight loss between 6 and 72 months post-surgery: −6.4 kg [−1.9--24.6 kg]). More extensive lymph node removal, being treated on the non-dominant side, receiving radiation therapy and lower physical activity levels at 6 months was associated with higher body weights post-breast cancer (group differences >3 kg; all p < 0.05). While average weight gain among breast cancer survivors in the long-term is small, subgroups of women experience greater gains linked with adverse health and above that experienced by age-matched counterparts. Weight change post-breast cancer is a contemporary public health issue and the integration of healthy weight education and support into standard breast cancer care has potential to significantly improve the length and quality of cancer survivorship.

DOI: 10.1186/s12885-015-1026-2

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@inproceedings{Vagenas2015WeightAW, title={Weight and weight change following breast cancer: evidence from a prospective, population-based, breast cancer cohort study}, author={Dimitrios Vagenas and Tracey Disipio and Diana Battistutta and Wendy Demark-Wahnefried and Sheree A Rye and John Bashford and Chris M Pyke and Christobel Saunders and Sandra Carr Hayes}, booktitle={BMC Cancer}, year={2015} }