In a new study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, researchers found that survivors of breast cancer with a family history of the disease gain more weight than similar women without cancer.
The scientists compared 303 breast cancer survivors and 307 cancer-free women all of whom had a family history of breast cancer. Participants answered a baseline questionnaire and at least one more between 2005 and 2013. By examining the researchers found that cancer survivors gained an average of 3.6 pounds, more weight than the women without cancer. Of the 108 women diagnosed with cancer in the last five years of the study, 37 women gained 11 pounds while only 35 of the 307 women without cancer gained as much weight.
When the researchers controlled for other factors, including physical activity, aging, and menopause, the results remained the same. A gain of 11 pounds is significant enough to contribute to heart health problems.
"The breast cancer survivors gained more weight in the four year follow-up," says Amy Gross, a Ph.D candidate at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and an author of the paper published in "Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention."
"We actually found that the women treated with chemotherapy were twice as likely to gain this weight compared to the cancer-free women (during) the same time."