This study aimed to identify risk factors associated with weight gain post a diagnosis of breast cancer in a cohort of Australian women.
In this retrospective clinical audit, objectively measured weight, age and menopause status, treatment type/s, grade, stage, oestrogen receptor and progesterone receptor (PR) status was extracted for 73 breast cancer patients from an ongoing breast cancer treatment quality assurance project. Weight gain or loss was classified as a body mass increase or decrease of ≥5% of weight at diagnosis.
When compared to weight at diagnosis, 57% of patients maintained, 22% gained, and 21% lost weight at 24 months post diagnosis. Factors associated with weight gain were a diagnosis of grade II (p < 0.001) or grade III (p < 0.001) compared to grade I breast cancer, and refusal of radiotherapy (p < 0.001). Factors associated with weight loss were being postmenopausal compared to premenopausal (p = 0.033), PR positive compared to PR negative (p < 0.001), refusal of chemotherapy (p < 0.001) and radiotherapy recommended (p < 0.001).
The maintenance of weight in a majority of women in this cohort is a novel finding. Early identification of women at risk of weight gain post a breast cancer diagnosis can assist health professionals identify, and therefore assisting patients in the prevention and management of weight gain and associated sequala. Investigating the weight related communications between a patient and specialist, their access to allied health professionals and social support may assist in understanding the overall positive changes in this cohort.

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