Obese Breast Cancer Patients and Survivors: Management Considerations

Oncology (Williston Park). 2018 Aug 15;32(8):410-7.


Excess body weight is a significant risk factor for many cancers, especially breast cancer. Patients with breast cancer or those with a history of the disease who are overweight or obese have an increased risk of therapy-related morbidity, recurrence, and breast cancer-related mortality. Obesity may also affect quality-of-life factors for survivors, including sexual dysfunction, neuropathy, cardiotoxicity, chronic fatigue, and lymphedema. Most cancer guidelines recommend that breast cancer survivors who are overweight or obese lose weight and that those with a normal body mass index (BMI) maintain a stable body weight. The cornerstone of interventions to treat or prevent obesity is lifestyle modification with diet and exercise; however, integrating these things into clinical practice is challenging. This article will present feasible weight loss interventions, and will discuss practical implications of ongoing chemotherapy and endocrine therapy with regard to weight gain, and the impact of obesity on therapy-related conditions during breast cancer survivorship.

MeSH terms

  • Body Image
  • Breast Neoplasms / mortality
  • Breast Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Cancer Survivors*
  • Fatigue / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Obesity / complications*
  • Obesity / psychology
  • Quality of Life
  • Weight Loss