Great Information, Real Community, Better Living.
 Main Page
 Fibroids1 News
Feature Story
 Education Center

Find a Physician

Dr. Lauren Streicher  Fibroids

Dr. Lauren Streicher:
Educating Patients on their Options
About Heroes 
 Join the Discussion  in  Our Forums
Fibroids1 Forums
Patient Stories
One Question Poll


Online Resources
Patient Brochures
Locate a Specialist
Office Visits
    Asked Questions

Video Library

Search the Body1 Network
September 18, 2020  
FIBROIDS1 NEWS: Feature Story

  • Print this Article
  • Email this Article
  • Links/Reprints
  • Undertreatment of Breast Cancer in Obese Women

    Undertreatment of Breast Cancer in Obese Women May Be Detrimental

    September 19, 2005

    By Jennifer Jope for Fibroids1

    Although there have been opinions or “folklore,” as one doctor calls it, in the medical field stating chemotherapy should be reduced in obese patients with breast cancer, a recent study says a reduction in chemotherapy in obese women should be avoided and could actually be detrimental.
    Take Action
    According to the American Breast Cancer Foundation keeping in good health will reduce your risk for breast cancer.

    Eat less animal and dairy saturated fats.

    Exercise and maintain a healthy body weight.

    Drink alcohol in moderation and avoid hard liquor.

    Don't smoke.

    According to the International Breast Cancer Study Group, which conducted the study, doctors often lower chemotherapy doses when treating obese patients due to fear of overdosing.

    The study evaluated dose response according to body-mass index and estrogen receptor expression of a primary cancer tumor. The patients were pre-menopausal with node-positive breast cancer.

    The results of the study found that 39 percent of obese patients were significantly more likely to receive a lower dose of chemotherapy – less than 85 percent of the expected dose in the first course – compared to 16 percent of those with normal or intermediate body mass index.

    The researchers also noted that for both obese patients and the total population with estrogen receptor-negative tumors (cancer cells that do not need estrogen to grow), reducing the dose of chemotherapy created a significantly worse outcome for disease-free survival and overall survival.

    “Our findings suggest that for women with [estrogen receptor]-absent or [estrogen receptor]-low tumors, reduction in chemotherapy dose should be avoided,” the researchers said.

    In June, researchers from the University of Rochester conducted a similar study comparing chemotherapy doses administered to normal weight women and obese women. They found that the heavier the women, the more likely a reduced dosage was given. Twenty percent of obese women and 37 percent of severely obese women received lower chemotherapy doses compared to 9 percent of normal weight patients. This study also found that the women being undertreated typically had other medical problems, were older than age 60 and were treated earlier in the study period, according to However, the study points out that an obese woman was still more likely to receive a reduced dose even with no medical problems, being under age 60 and not treated earlier.

    Last year, Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia researched the connection between obesity and breast cancer. The researchers at the cancer center found that women who are obese when they are diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer are at a greater risk of dying than women of normal weight. While most early-stage breast cancer is commonly cured, Fox Chase Cancer Center found that obese women often developed metastatic disease and more often died. The influence of obesity on breast cancer outcome, the center said, has been uncertain. Nonetheless, national associations like the American Cancer Society suggest engaging in vigorous activity for at least four hours per week and reducing lifetime weight gain through regular exercise and a healthy diet.

    Dr. Rulla Tamimi, of Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston and an instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School, said the most recent study from the International Breast Cancer Study Group didn’t take other factors into account when looking at the prognosis of a breast cancer patient. She suggested that diet and exercise may be factors to be considered when looking at survival rates. This study, she said, reviewed only body mass index, dosage and stage of the cancer. She suggested other studies should be considered before making a final judgment call.

    “It is still too early to tell,” Tamimi said.

    Last updated: 19-Sep-05


  • Add Comment
    Interact on Fibroids1

    Discuss this topic with others.
    Feature Archives

    Uterine Fibroids: If in Doubt Always Ask for a Second Opinion

    With Flip of Wrist, Interventional Radiologists Treat Uterine Fibroids

    Fibroids Have Significant Impact on Workplace Performance

    Uterine fibroids have greater impact in African American women

    Should Women with Fibroids have a Hysterectomy?

    Next 5 Features ...

    More Features ...
    Related Multimedia

    Interview with Dr. Chen: Gastrointestinal Cancer - Staging Cancer

    Interview with Dr. Chen - Gerd and Gastroenterology

    Dr. Schneller Question: What drew you to rheumatology?

    More Features ...
    Related Content
    Oncology Massage Can Help Breast Cancer Patients – If Done Cautiously and Correctly

    Ovarian Cancer

    Understanding and Detecting Paget’s Disease

    Digital Mammography: A Closer Look at Breast Cancer

    Connection Found Between Breast Cancer and Fracture Risk

    More Features ...
    Home About Us Press Jobs Advertise With Us Contact Us
    © 2020 Body1 All rights reserved.
    Disclaimer: The information provided within this website is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for consultation with your physician or healthcare provider. The opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of the Owners and Sponsors of this site. By using this site you agree to indemnify, and hold the Owners and Sponsors harmless, from any disputes arising from content posted here-in.