Did breast cancer treatment cause the number on your scale to rise? Me, too. I thought my thirty pound weight gain was a sign of weak self-control, even though I didn’t remember eating that much more.
According to Cancer.net, “more than half of breast cancer patients experience weight gain during treatment”. Chemotherapy, steroid medications and hormonal therapies can all contribute to a growing waistline. Can these extra pounds really be that unhealthy? Clinical research says YES.
Why is overweight and obesity so dangerous in breast cancer? Because it works against our goal of survival. Fat tissue is hormonally active, increasing risk of estrogen driven breast cancers. Fat cells produce chemicals that encourage cell overgrowth and decrease programmed cell death, enabling tumors to grow. Carrying extra fat (adipose) tissue causes chronic inflammation and altered immune system responses, neither of which are good for breast cancer survival. The bottom line? “Obesity is a major risk factor for breast cancer recurrence and mortality in both pre- and postmenopausal women”.
Where to begin? Read After Cancer Care, written by top integrative physicians. Based on current research, this book offers help to every cancer patient, and has a section devoted to breast cancer. These physicians have also developed a breast cancer wellness plan, meal plan (available on our “Begin Here” page), and recommendations for dietary supplementation. The evidence of the benefit of these lifestyle changes is irrefutable. The question to ask yourself is, why not? There is no downside to making these changes. You have only your health to gain!