BALTIMORE, July 15 (UPI) -- Women diagnosed with and treated for breast cancer gain weight at a higher rate than cancer-free women, according to a new study.
On average, women treated for cancer gained just under 4 pounds more than cancer-free women in the five years following their treatment, and more than 1 in 5 women gained at least 11 pounds in that timeframe.
"This is of concern because weight gain of this magnitude in adults has been associated with increased future risk for chronic diseases like coronary heart disease, hypertension, and type 2 diabetes," said Amy Gross, a doctoral candidate in the department of epidemiology at the Bloomberg School of Public Health, in a press release.
Researchers compared 303 breast cancer survivors with 307 age- and menopausal status-matched cancer-free women who participated in the Breast and Ovarian Surveillance Service cohort study, which is focused on genetic- and family-influenced risk factors to develop cancer.
The data showed that women who'd been diagnosed with cancer had gained an average of 3.81 pounds more than those who had not, women diagnosed with estrogen receptor-negative invasive cancer had gained 7.26 pounds more, and women who'd been treated with chemotherapy, regardless additional hormonal therapy, were twice as likely to gain at least 11 pounds more.
"Longer follow-up is needed to confirm the persistence of weight gain in breast cancer survivors and understand the metabolic changes that may be occurring," Visvanathan said, adding "this study highlights the need for physicians and their patients, including those with a family history of the disease, to pay closer attention to weight gain during and after treatment."
The study is published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention.