Weight gain after treatment for breast cancer
After breast cancer treatment, it’s not unusual for women to find that they’ve gained weight.
Chemotherapy and other treatments can bring on the menopause and weight gain is a symptom of this. Steroids cause weight gain and are often given with chemotherapy. During treatment, women are also less likely to be active. Hormonal therapy, which is usually given for a number of years, can also cause weight gain.
Losing weight can be difficult. Even trying to keep to a healthy weight is sometimes hard. But there are lots of benefits to keeping to a healthy weight. It reduces the risk of getting heart problems and other illnesses such as diabetes. There’s evidence that keeping to a healthy weight after the menopause helps reduce the risk of breast cancer coming back.
What you can do to manage your weight
Try to keep your weight within the normal range for your height (your GP can advise you on your ideal weight). Ask your GP or a dietitian for advice and support.
Reduce your calorie intake by cutting down on fat and sugar in your diet. It’s important to eat a balanced diet to make sure you get all the nutrients you need to keep your body healthy. Increase your physical activity to help you burn off calories. Choose a form of exercise you enjoy and that you’ll stick to. Get advice from your GP before you start, but for most people, exercise is safe. Your GP practice may be able to refer you to special exercise groups run by fitness trainers, or you can ask for supervised help from a trainer if you’re already a member of a gym.
Avoid crash diets. Losing weight slowly is healthier and you’re more likely to keep the weight off for good. Aim to lose 1-2 pounds a week (0.5kg-1kg) and be patient with yourself.
Here are some ideas to help you lose weight:
only eat as much food as you need
eat a balanced diet with lots of fruit and vegetables
eat less fat and sugar
become more physically active.