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How To Lose Weight After Breast Cancer

How Does A Mammogram Work

Losing Weight After Breast Cancer Treatment

Mammograms can diagnose breast cancer in its early stages before any lump can be felt and detected through self-examination. In this stage, the cancer is easier to treat. Each year, approximately 281,550 women are diagnosed with breast cancer. If you notice any change, it is a good idea to get your breast examined in a mammogram.

A mammogram uses a machine designed only to examine breast tissue. During a mammogram, a machine with two plates compresses the breasts to flatten and spread the tissues. This makes the breast tissue easier to examine and requires lower x-rays doses. X-ray images of each breast are taken, usually from a few different angles. The radiologist will then examine these x-rays for tumors or any abnormal tissues.

Although screenings can come back with abnormal areas in the breast, it can not always be determined if the area is cancerous. This information will help to decide whether more testing is needed. If a screening mammogram shows changes to your breast or if you display breast cancer symptoms, you may need a diagnostic mammogram. Diagnostic mammograms include extra images and views not included in a screening mammogram.

Within mammograms, there are usually three main things radiologists look for:

How Can I Lose Weight After Breast Cancer Treatment

We usually put on weight when the amount of calories we eat is more than the amount of calories we burn through normal everyday activities and exercise.

Some people put on weight during and after treatment, which can be upsetting. This may be due to:

  • The side effects of some drugs, which can increase appetite
  • The body retaining fluid
  • Being less active than usual
  • Overeating when youre anxious or because your usual routine has changed
  • The menopause

I Felt Like Id Let My Family Down

In September 2016, I noticed that my right breast didnt feel the same as my left. It had been painful for a few months, but I put it down to menstrual pain and didnt think much of it.

When I noticed a thickening of the tissue, I took myself to the doctors. She examined me, and put it down to hormones, possibly because of breast feeding and said it was nothing to worry about.

A year later, the thickening had started to become a lump. When I tried to make an appointment with a female doctor, I was told I would have to wait two weeks.

In those short few weeks, the lump began to grow. I could see it under my skin. I began to worry again.

When I went for my appointment I was thrown into a new world of panic. Within the space of a few minutes my doctor was talking about urgent referrals.

I was officially diagnosed with breast cancer on the 20th October. I felt numb. I was 37, with no family history of breast cancer. How could this be happening?

I didnt cry for myself, I cried for my little boys, my husband and my family. I felt like Id let them all down in the most devastating way.

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What This Means For You

As many of us know, trying to lose weight especially as we get older can be hard and frustrating.

Still, it can be done with careful changes to your diet and regular exercise. The first thing to do is to talk to your doctor about a healthy weight for you based on your age, height, body type, and activity level. Then ask your doctor about a safe and sensible plan to lose weight that is specifically designed for you and your needs.

Once you have the OK from your doctor and a weight goal, you can create a healthy eating plan that meets your nutritional needs. You may want to talk to a registered dietitian about how to create a healthy eating plan thats tailored to your specific needs and likes.

Some women say that it helps to think of eating well and exercising as important parts of their treatment plans. Remember to be nice to yourself dont punish yourself.

In the Breastcancer.org Nutrition section, the Eating to Lose Weight After Treatment pages can help you assess your weight and create a healthy eating plan. And the Breastcancer.org Exercise pages can help you find a trainer and learn how to stick to an exercise routine.

Weight Loss Linked To Poorer Survival Outcomes In Her2

7 Things You Can Do To Lose Weight Naturally AMAZING ...

Disclosures: We were unable to process your request. Please try again later. If you continue to have this issue please contact .

Weight loss after diagnosis of HER2-positive early breast cancer appeared associated with poorer survival outcomes, according to study results published in Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network.

The finding that weight loss, not weight gain, was associated with worse outcomes is unexpected,Samuel Martel, MD, researcher at University of Sherbrooke in Quebec, Canada, said in a press release. We were unable to make a distinction between intentional vs. unintentional weight loss, so it is a matter of speculation whether worse outcomes were due to weight loss or vice versa.

J Natl Comp CancNetw

For the unplanned exploratory analysis of the randomized, phase 3 ALTTO BIG 2-06 trial, Martel and colleagues assessed the impact of BMI at baseline and changes in weight 2 years after HER2-positive early-stage breast cancer diagnosis on DFS, distant DFS and OS.

The analysis included 8,381 patients in the trial who had been randomly assigned to one of four treatments, including trastuzumab alone lapatinib alone trastuzumab for 12 weeks followed by lapatinib for 34 weeks or trastuzumab plus lapatinib .

Researchers grouped patients into four categories according to WHO BMI classification: underweight , normal weight , overweight and obese .

DFS, distant DFS and OS served as the studys endpoints.

Median follow-up was 4.5 years.

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Drugs & Foods Can Affect The Cyp Catalytic Cycle

This is important to know because many drugs, supplementsand some foods affect the level of CYP2D6 activity in our liver. There also seems to be a genetic and ethnicitycomponent to the level of this enzyme activity. I will just be talking about food in this article. But it is important for you to talk toyour oncologist or pharmacist about all the drugs & supplements you aretaking while on tamoxifen.

There are many drugs, including over the countermedications, and concentrated supplements, including those found in health foodstores, that can lower activity of these enzymes and prevent you from gettingthe full benefit from tamoxifen.

You can see some of the drugs that interact with the CYP enzymes here. But, honestly, its easier just to have a chat with your pharmacist. That is what they are there for, after all.

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Weight Loss Versus Cachexia

Weight loss and cancer cachexia are different. Cachexia is a syndrome that is caused by the underlying cancer. Although weight loss is part of cachexia, it is not associated with the increased metabolism that occurs with cachexia. Therefore, weight loss as part of cachexia does not always improve with more calories.

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Specific Demographic Medical Menopausal And Lymphoedema Details Requested In The Survey

Demographic characteristics.

State of residence, highest level of education, ethnicity, employment status, relationship status, current age and age at diagnosis were included to describe the characteristics of women.

Medical details.

Women were asked about their diagnosis, treatments received including treatments received to the axilla, the number of lymph nodes removed, whether they had a reconstruction, use of hormonal treatments, menopausal state , presence of other medical conditions and symptoms such as hot flushes and the presence and severity of lymphoedema.

Women were asked to describe the type of breast cancer they were diagnosed with as either ductal cancer in-situ , localised stage breast cancer , metastatic breast cancer or inflammatory breast cancer. For convenience, inflammatory breast cancer and metastatic breast cancer were then combined and referred to as advanced breast cancer. Women were also asked to indicate the treatments they received such as Lumpectomy alone, Lumpectomy and radiation, mastectomy alone, mastectomy and radiation, removal of lymph nodes, chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, targeted therapy , and other. As chemotherapy is invariably not provided to women with DCIS, we recoded the diagnosis as localised if a woman indicated that she had received chemotherapy.

Lymphoedema severity was defined as either no problem , mild , moderate , severe as described elsewhere .

Lifestyle habits.

Weight management.

Do You Need To Count Calories

Losing Weight After Breast Cancer Treatment

Many people believe that if you eat fewer calories than you burn each day, youll lose weight, and if you eat the same number of calories that youll burn, youll maintain a healthy weight. This plan works for many people, but not all.

If youre counting calories, its important to think about what youre eating. Say Jane eats 1,200 calories a day of cake, cookies and white bread. Shes probably not going to lose any weight. Betty eats 1,200 calories a day of fresh vegetables and fruit and lean protein. Shes probably going to lose some weight and get a lot more nutrients from her food. Counting calories is only part of the weight loss equation.

And counting calories is only one way to lose weight. Because the hormone insulin plays a major role in how your body uses and stores fat, some research suggests that eating foods that keep insulin levels steady throughout the day lean meat and fish, poultry, vegetables, and fruit rather than foods like sugar, candy, white bread, and crackers can help you maintain a healthy weight.

The first thing to do if you want to lose weight is to talk to your doctors and a registered dietitian about a safe and sensible plan designed specifically for you and your needs. Your doctors may want you to wait until you have completely recovered from treatment or any other health issues you may have.

These steps can help you lose weight after treatment:

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Rate Of Weight Gain And Comparison With Normative Data

On average, women in our study gained 0.64kg per year . For women aged 2574years , the mean weight gain in excess of age-matched controls was 0.48kg per year . Overall, two thirds of women in our sample gained in excess of normative weight gain in the AusDiab study, including 25.1% of women who gained > 1kg per year in excess of normative rates of weight gain. There was no difference between age groups with regard to the number of women who gained in excess of normative weight gain =6.6929, p= 0.153). See Fig. for mean weight gain in excess of normative data for each age group. There was only one woman in the 2534 age group to protect confidentiality we did not include her data in Table or Fig. .

Table 5 Mean weight gain per year in each age group, and proportion who gained in excessive of normative rates

Reasons To Get And Stay Healthy After Cancer Treatment

Tim Byers, M.D., M.P.D, authored a study that followed early-stage breast cancer survivors for 2 years. The study found that, given the proper information and motivation, breast cancer survivors can lose weight. Not surprisingly, the study participants who received more support lost more weight than the group that received only information, but both groups were successful in their efforts. Dr. Byers said, We dont need to focus on getting to the ideal body type, whatever that may be. If we can prove that modest weight loss improves the chance of better outcomes after breast cancer, we need to encourage and support that.

Fat cells make estrogen, and estrogen can cause hormone-receptor-positive cancer cells to grow. Increased fat cells mean increased estrogen and increased risk. Extra fat cells can also cause low-level chronic inflammation, and this inflammation has been linked to increased recurrence risk. This is great motivation for getting extra fat cells off our bodies, but its not the only reason to get moving.

Exercise relieves stress and boosts your mood. Exercising is an excellent confidence builder , and its often a great way to build a social support group. For tips on how to best stay active after cancer treatment, .

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Put The Brakes On Supplement Use

Eating whole foods, and getting the nutrients your body needs from them, is the gold standard of nutrition. In fact, vitamins and other supplements which arent regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration or any agency can actually interfere with certain cancer treatments and medications.

It depends on what treatment youre on and what supplement youre taking, Ms. Gerdes says, but supplements are definitely something we want our patients to avoid most of the time because theyre taking so many medications, we dont know whats going to interact with them.

Be honest with your medical team about vitamins or herbal supplements youve been taking in any form, whether pills, shakes, or powders. To educate yourself on herbs and potential adverse reactions or interactions with treatment, visit MSKs About Herbs webpage.

What Are The Risks Of Gaining Or Losing Pounds

Women who lose or gain weight after breast cancer surgery ...

Weight gain can raise your risk for getting high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes. Being overweight also puts you at risk for getting other types of cancers. Research has also shown that carrying around extra pounds can raise your risk of breast cancer recurring.

Weight loss can cause you to lose energy, and poor nutrition can make it harder for you to recover.

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Weight Changes After Breast Cancer Treatment

After treatment for breast cancer, you may have gained or lost weight.

It can be helpful to speak with your GP or practice nurse. They can assess if your current weight is healthy. To do this they will measure your weight and height to calculate your body mass index .

If your BMI is too high or low, they can help you put a plan together. They may refer you to a dietitian if they think this would be helpful. They can also let you know about any local schemes aimed at helping people manage their weight and be more active.

Find out more about diet and breast cancer.

How Can I Put On Weight After Breast Cancer Treatment

If youve lost weight during your treatment, some simple changes to your diet can help.

To put on weight in a healthy way, you need to eat more calories and more protein. Aim to eat three meals and some snacks throughout the day, based on the Eatwell Guide. Have more of the protein-rich foods like lean cuts of meat, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds and pulses . Also include healthy fats such as avocados, olive or rapeseed oil, and unsalted peanut butter. Adding milk powder or protein powder to drinks or food may also help.

Your GP can prescribe high-protein or high-energy drinks and soups if you need extra help to gain weight, or they may refer you to a dietitian.

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Why Do We Gain Weight From Chemo

There may be many factors at work. Not only can your diet affect your weight, but the medications you are taking, the amount of exercise you are getting , and changes in your metabolism all play a role.

Although chemo may make you feel nauseous much of the time, it may also cause you to crave comfort foods like pasta, bread, rice, and mashed potatoes. And these carbohydrate-laden choices can pack on the pounds, especially if you cant exercise. Its more difficult to jog or work out when you feel the fatigue, nausea, and pain often associated with treatment. In fact, many women find their activity level dropping even further because they often have to cut back even on light activities like housework.

The premature menopause chemo often causes may also contribute to weight gain. Menopause creates changes in your lean muscle/body fat balance, as well as slowing your metabolism. Although menopause does not necessarily mean youll gain weight, it does make it more difficult to prevent.

Tamoxifen has also been thought to increase weight gain, but there isnt enough scientific research to support this belief. In fact, two large clinical studies failed to find a link between Tamoxifen and weight gain. It may simply be that many women taking Tamoxifen are also going through menopause so the weight simply comes with the territory.

Dietitians Offer Strategies For Controlling Weight After Cancer Treatment

What to eat to lose weight and prevent breast cancer

Michelle Churches walks 11,000 steps during her 10-hour nursing shift at an outpatient surgery center in Trenton.

She knows this because she wears a pedometer. After walking those 11,000 steps, she comes home and pulls together a homemade dinner in about 30 minutes. She chats with her husband and kids, cleans up the kitchen and heads out to walk the dog. Some weeks, depending on her work schedule, she’ll fit in an extra 12-hour shift to help fund a gift she wants to give her three children: a debtfree ride through college.

To say that Churches is active would draw an affectionate chuckle from her friends. When the season is right, Churches has been known to work from dawn to dusk in her herb garden, stopping only long enough for occasional water breaks. So when she was diagnosed in 2005 with breast cancer, weight wasn’t a concern for her. She was 5 feet 7 inches and 138 pounds. But after a mastectomy, chemotherapy, radiation and hormone therapy, Churches has found it’s more difficult to maintain her weight.

“I work my butt off so that now when I look at a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, I have a little calculator in my head: How much will it take to burn this off? Is it worth it?” she says.

It may be more difficult to lose weight, but Daniels and Burke stress that it’s still important to try to control what you can: diet and exercise.

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