Recent studies have breast cancer treatments linked to weight gain in women, with no conclusive answers as to why. According to the researchers, women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer and were receiving treatment were over 50% more likely to gain weight than cancer-free women.
A number of 303 breast cancer survivors along with 307 non-afflicted participants, but with genetic history of the disease, were involved in the study. The volunteers completed a number of questions in the beginning of the research, along with follow-ups between 2005 and 2013.
Across the board, it was observed that within the first five years of treatments, cancer survivors gained an average of 3.6 pounds more than cancer-free participants. Furthermore, those diagnosed with non-hormone sensitive invasive cancer gained up to 7 pounds, while those who received chemotherapy as treatment upped their weight by 11 pounds.
It is not a matter of aesthetics, but of risk. Studies have shown that those who gain weight can be more prone to the unfortunate consequence of their cancer returning. Not only that, but a weight gain of 11 pounds has also been linked to higher risk of chronic diseases in women such as diabetes, heart problems and hypertension.
Researchers associate the weight gain to both chemotherapy and the likelihood that those under treatment are participating much less in physical activities. That doubles their risk and the explanations should be taken into considerations by oncologists or other doctors treating breast cancer.
Chemotherapy increases insulin resistance and increases inflammation, thus causing a disruption in the patient’s metabolism, which might result in weight gain. It has also been linked to causing nausea or other symptoms that could discourage cancer patients from physical activities.
A high proportion of the women participating in the study have also been reported to be overweight, whether they were breast cancer survivors or simply women with the condition in their genetic history. Half of those who carried the BRCA1 or the BRCA2 mutation and were predisposed to the cancer, were also reported to being overweight or obese.
The plans are for the studies to continue within the next couple of years and to properly determine if chemotherapy is conclusively linked to weight gain in breast cancer survivors. Proper adjustments in treatments or perhaps switching to hormonal therapy, when it’s possible, might lower the risk of the cancer returning and prevent fewer women from undergoing the same procedures ever again.
Image source: thebreastcaresite.com