Women with obesity when diagnosed with early breast cancer have a higher risk of recurrence or a second cancer compared with women whose weight is in the normal range, but losing weight after a diagnosis can be difficult.

Recent results from the US-based clinical trial, BWEL (Breast Cancer Weight Loss), showed that women enrolled in a telephone-based weight loss program lost an average of 4.8% of their original weight after 12 months. The study involved 3,200 women who were overweight or obese and had completed their chemotherapy and radiotherapy after being diagnosed with stage 2 or 3 HER2-negative early breast cancer. Half of the women received telephone coaching sessions to help them reduce calorie intake and increase exercise as well as some general health education. The remainder (the control group) received only the health education. On average, the women in the control group gained 0.9% of their original body weight. These results were consistent across patients of all ages, ethnicities, socio-economic groups and education levels. 

For the next phase of the study, the women will be followed for years to ascertain whether their weight loss translates into reduced risk of breast cancer recurrence and improved survival. 

You can read more about this study here and here

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