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A Novel Program to Help with Weight Loss

Posted 9/7/2014

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  Weight is a big concern for many women after breast cancer treatment. We all know that losing weight is more difficult after menopause (bet we all fondly remember the days when we could eat ice cream daily and never gain an ounce), and many of us are catapulted into menopause years, even decades or half decades, before it would have happened naturally. Both chemotherapy and the endocrine/hormonal drugs can cause some weight gain, and the challenge becomes at least keeping one's weight stable. I have long given up on the idea of ever regaining my pre-cancer weight (of course I was 44 then, so that is part of the difficulty), and I pay a lot of attention to exercise and diet to keep it stable. In my world, stable is fine.

  So, why does it matter if we get a little fatter? There are the obvious reasons of vanity and self-esteem, but there is growing and powerful evidence that obesity or even being overweight is a risk factor for recurrence. The simple scientific explanation is that estrogen lurks in fat cells, and we know that reducing the estrogen load is a goal for all of us post breast cancer.

  This is an article from Living Beyond Breast Cancer about a recent study reported in the Journal of Clinical Oncology It grabbed my interest because I have been talking with the wonderful dietician in our group about developing a phone-based peer support program for women who are trying to lost weight. If you think you might be interested, please let me know. Once we are much further along, we will be advertising for this, but would love input as we develop the program.

  Here is the start and then a link to read about this effort:

Phone Counseling May Help Postmenopausal Women With Early Stage
Breast Cancer Lose Weight

Getting advice about healthy living by phone from trained lifestyle coaches may help some overweight women treated for early-stage breast cancer lose more weight, a new study shows.

The article, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, compared weight loss in postmenopausal women coached by phone with those sent information by mail.

Background and Goals

Fat cells produce estrogen, a hormone that occurs naturally in the body. In hormone-positive breast cancer, estrogen causes cancer cells to divide and grow.

If a person carries extra fat, their bodies may make more estrogen. For people with hormone-positive breast cancer, this could encourage more cancer growth. Carrying too much extra body fat has a negative impact on health and also may affect breast cancer survival.

That’s why finding out what helps women lose weight was important to the trial team. To do that, they tested whether talking with a professional by phone would help motivate women to lose more weight than they would if they only read materials about healthy living.

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