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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 heart problems and other illnesses such as diabetes. There’s some evidence that keeping to a healthy weight after the menopause may help reduce the risk of breast cancer coming back.
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 to burn up calories. Choose a form of exercise you enjoy and that you’ll stick to. Get advice from your GP before you start. Your GP practice may be able to refer you to special exercise groups run by fitness trainers.
Avoid crash diets. Losing weight slowly is healthier and you’re more likely to keep the weight off for good. Aim to lose one to two pounds a week (between half a kilo and one kilo) and be patient with yourself.
Some ideas to lose weight are:
There’s more information and advice in our sections on diet| and exercise after cancer treatment.
Content last reviewed: 1 June 2010
Next planned review: 2013
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© Macmillan Cancer Support 2013
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