Clinic trial hope to improve breast cancer survival rates by weight loss


RHINELANDER, Wis. (WSAW) — Multiple studies have shown that obesity is linked to poor cancer survival rates. But a new study is investigating whether weight loss can help prevent cancer from recurring.

Dr. Sueyi Lai at Marshfield Clinic is investigating a link through a clinical trial.

“And this trial provides that, and you could potentially improve your own health outcomes by weight loss,” she explained.

The trial, BWEL, otherwise known as the breast cancer weight loss study, hopes to prove a link between improving outcomes by losing weight.

“And there’s a lot of evidence that suggests that there is a strong association between obesity and early stage breast cancer patients being linked to higher death rates and high chance of cancer recurrence of cancer coming back,” Dr. Lai said.

Patients would be randomly divided into two groups.

“In this [controlled] group patients will basically be educated on healthy lifestyle behavior, so they will be given brochures, and they’ll be given the opportunity to participate in teleconferences and subscriptions to health or lifestyle magazines,” she explained.

The second group would receive a bit more resources.

“We provide them with supervised programs that’s tailored specifically towards weight loss so they’re actually working closely with a coach. They actually have to track their diet down, exercise, and what they eat,” Dr. Lai explained.

She said there have been over 80 reports showing a connection to obesity at the time of a cancer diagnosis. If this study proves that weight loss is connected to cancer, Dr. Lai said it’s likely weight loss and exercise will become a standard part of treatment from here on out.

This national trial is currently in Stage III, and they’re looking for around 3,000 participants. To be eligible, you have to be in the early stages of breast cancer. Stage two or three, within the past twelve months.

You can participate at any Marshfield Clinic in Minocqua, Marshfield or Wausau. Or ask your oncologist if they can help you participate. The trial is set to last for two years.

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Clinic trial hope to improve breast cancer survival rates by weight loss

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