Women suffering from both breast cancer and obesity may have a more severe prognosis than breast cancer patients with a healthier body mass index (BMI). A study published in Clinical Cancer Research (2008; 14, 1718–25) found that breast cancer patients with an elevated BMI have lower rates of survival and more aggressive disease.
Analyzing the records of more than 600 patients with locally advanced breast cancer, study authors sought to determine overall survival (OS) and recurrence-free survival (RFS) rates among obese, overweight and normal/underweight groups. Unfortunately, obese women experienced lower rates of OS and RFS than both the overweight and the healthy/underweight groups. According to the authors, “evaluation of the biological factors associated with this observation can provide tools for additional therapeutic interventions.” For fitness professionals, this may mean taking greater action in the fight against obesity in order to improve survival among this high-risk population.