Weighting Out Your Option

Breast cancer survivors should properly manage their BMI

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) After a breast cancer diagnosis, survivors should increase their recovery chances by keeping their weight in check.

While most women do not gain a great deal of weight after a breast cancer diagnosis, the ones that do are increasing their risk for a reoccurence.

A recent study's results showed an association between the reoccurance of breast cancer and a women's weight.

"After breast cancer diagnosis, women should maintain their weight."

Researchers at Kaiser Permanente in Northern California used data from the After Breast Cancer (ABC) Pooling Project, which includes 18,336 breast cancer survivors, age 20-83, whose weight and body mass index(BMI) were assessed 18 to 48 months after their diagnosis.

This post-diagnosis data was compared with their weight and BMI at the time of their cancer diagnosis.

Analysis of the pooled data showed an association with cancer reoccurence and extreme weight gain, which for this study’s purposes is defined as more than 10% of their starting weight.

The breast cancer survivors who gained an extreme amount of weight within 48 months after their diagnosis had a 14 percent more likelihood of a cancer recurrence than the breast cancer survivors whose weight remained relatively stable, defined as gaining 5% or less for this study.

Women who only had a moderate weight gain, defined for this study as 5-10 percent increase, did not show an association with breast cancer reoccurence.

The most dramatic finding involved women who were quite lean, defined as a BMI lower than 25, at the time of their diagnosis and gained and extreme amount of weight.

These women had a whopping 25% greater risk of cancer death and also had a higher risk for reoccurence.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
April 6, 2011
Last Updated:
April 11, 2011