"Many breast cancer survivors would like to contribute actively to improving their prognosis, and guiding them on lifestyle factors that can help them control weight is one possible way to positively impact patient outcomes," said Dr. Wolfgang Janni, the study's lead author of the study and chair of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Ulm in Germany.
For the study, Janni and his team examined 2,292 women enrolled in the German SUCCESS C study. All participants had a body mass index (BMI) of 24 or higher. While a BMI of 24 is still considered within a healthy weight range, going any higher is already considered overweight. Earlier studies have reported that obesity and not having enough exercise are linked to higher risks of developing breast cancer and a greater risk of recurrence and reduced survival.
The participants either received telephone-based, personalized guidance focused on helping them attain moderate weight loss for two years or general recommendations for a healthy lifestyle. Those who received the telephone calls received advice on how to improve their diets, reduce their fat consumption, get more exercise, and other tips that were adjusted to their particular needs.
After two years of follow-up, those who received personalized lifestyle intervention tips lost an average of 2.2 pounds, while those in the control group gained about 2.1 pounds, on average. Only 1,477 participants completed the lifestyle intervention, and these participants experienced a 35 percent higher rate of disease-free survival compared to those who started the program but did not complete it. Moreover, those who received the telephone calls had a 50 percent higher chance of surviving disease-free compared to the control group. The results were similar even after the researchers compared other factors that could influence the outcomes.
From these findings, it can be concluded that lifestyle interventions might be effective in improving breast cancer prognosis if adherence is high.
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