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Obesity and Cancer Treatment

Thursday, September 26, 2013


Recent research indicates that obese cancer patients are likely to be undertreated with chemo: some 40% of the obese get less than 85% of the chemo dose they need, based upon their actual body weight.

Why? Apparently many doctors don't realize that the chemo dose can't be standardized, based upon an "ideal" body weight.

And even among those who do, some doctors are simply concerned that the obese are often less fit, so less able to sustain the rigours of a full chemo regime based upon the right amount for their body weight.

When we combine this research with the research indicating that many cancers are triggered by excess weight . . . it's clear that cancer and obesity can be a "double whammy".

I certainly know that many of the patients I encountered at my oncology clinic were obese and overweight. And in my own case, the major motivator for maintaining weight loss is my recognition that an estrogen-based breast cancer is more likely to recur if I permit myself to become obese again.

As ONEKIDSMOM points out in her great blog today, we need to be partners in our health care with our health care providers. That's the conversation we need to have!!

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    1628 days ago
  • SWAZY33
    Great info and a great reminder. I know I need to keep my weight in check for the same reasons as you with ca history and the past three months have been so stressful with starting a new job and other family issues and I did way too much stress eating and have gained :(. So just wanted to let you know that I appreciate you and your posts to help remind me that I NEED to stay on track...my life really depends on it!
    1631 days ago
  • _LINDA
    I have driven my health care team early on as I am really more aware of what is going on with my body then they ever can hope to be. if I call my family Dr. and say something is wrong, she will take the call, even after hours as she knows I wouldn't call unless it was really serious. I told my new rheumy not to put too much faith in the SED rate with me as past experience has shown me it takes a long time to register and that also he shouldn't be as worried about inflammation as I don't get it that much as I am in the erosive phase of the disease, so its the wrong focus.
    Taking care of the body we have is all we can do to stave off worse. You have learned that lesson well! Here is to continued vigilance and healthy outcomes!
    keep on being fabulous!!

    1632 days ago
    Wow - you'd think the doctors might grab a clue!!!
    1632 days ago
    Thanks for pointing out the responsibility to be a PARTNER in our own health care.
    1632 days ago
    Wow. That's amazing.

    emoticon for posting.
    1632 days ago
    I read about that study in the Oregonian yesterday. I just sat there appalled. You summarize the research and restate the conclusions very well.
    1632 days ago
    1632 days ago
    I read that article. People trying to define obesity as a "disease" doesn't help. Renaming something doesn't make it any less of a danger.
    1632 days ago
    Armed with information as we move forward in our health journeys!
    1632 days ago
  • PHOENIX1949
    I appreciate this information and have printed it. Thank you.
    1632 days ago
    Sadly, why am I not surprised to hear this...? Thank you for enlightening us! Will certainly keep this in mind should anyone I know be in need of this information. And yes our health is too precious to be anything but vigilant and active in our partnering with our health care providers!

    1632 days ago
  • KANOE10
    Ellen: you have done such a great job of leading a healthy life and keeping your weight off to stay healthy. That was fascinating and frightening about obese people not getting the needed amount of chemo.
    Thanks for the excellent links. We do need to be active partners with our health care and our providers.

    1632 days ago
    Now that is something I didn't know at all. Thanks for sharing. I also believe we need to be active in our own health care and in being a. Partner with our docs.

    1632 days ago
    I learned something today! It got me thinking about all the people I know that have had some type of cancer and most of them were overweight. Another reason to become a healthier weight.

    Thanks and emoticon on your healthier lifestyle!
    1632 days ago
  • NANCY-
    Thanks for the thought provoking blog and links.
    ONEKIDSMOM did a great job of hitting home the point that we have responsibility for our health.
    1632 days ago
    Another great blog, Ellen! So glad you take your health seriously and do what you need to be a healthy person. Your past and ongoing victories against cancer are inspiring and wonderful! Thanks for being such an inspiration.
    1632 days ago
    Great observations and thanks for the link. Turns out when LEANJEAN6 blogs "Spark like your life depends on it... because it does!" it's the truth.

    You're amazing, Ellen! Spark on. emoticon
    1632 days ago
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