Conference Coverage

Data underscore the importance of lifestyle interventions in breast cancer patients



– Data continue to underscore the benefits of lifestyle interventions in women with breast cancer, but questions remain about their effects on recurrence, according to Jennifer Ligibel, MD.

Findings from the EBBA-II trial as presented at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, for example, showed that exercise improves cardiorespiratory fitness in women with early breast cancer, and findings from the SUCCESS C study showed that breast cancer patients who completed a weight-loss intervention showed some improvements, compared with those who did not, said Dr. Ligibel of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, who was the discussant for those and other lifestyle-intervention studies at the symposium.

SUCCESS C failed to show an overall reduction in breast cancer recurrence or survival, but weight loss among intervention-group participants was modest, and more than half of the participants dropped out of the study, so it’s hard to make any firm conclusions, she said.

Overall, the findings – in the context of what is already known about lifestyle interventions among women with breast cancer – provide “yet another reason to tell women that it’s important to exercise during treatment,” she said.

Vidyard Video

In this video interview, Dr. Ligibel discussed the studies and the implications of the findings, and also mentioned an ongoing study for which she is an investigator. In that study – the Breast Cancer Weight Loss study (BWEL) – adherence among the approximately 1,700 women enrolled has been high. “So we’re hoping that this study in a few years will give us a bit more information about the power of weight loss to potentially reduce recurrence.”

For now, the available data show that there are “lots of concrete benefits” associated with improving lifestyle in women with breast cancer, she said, noting that she tells all of her patients to live as healthy a lifestyle as possible, and especially to exercise.

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