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Breast cancer treatment may be less effective in obese women

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women. @Shutterstock

Obese breast cancer patients may not benefit much from treatment with docetaxel, a common chemotherapy drug, say researchers.

Written by Longjam Dineshwori |Updated : July 7, 2020 10:33 PM IST

If you're overweight, try to bring the number down to a healthier range to reduce your risk of diseases. Obesity can lead to serious health complications such as metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, heart disease, diabetes, high blood cholesterol, cancers and sleep disorders. Obese women are known to be at a higher risk of getting breast cancer as well as a higher risk of relapsing. Now, a new study has revealed that breast cancer treatment may be less effective in obese women. The study found that breast cancer patients, who are overweight or obese, benefit less from treatment with docetaxel, a common chemotherapy drug, than lean patients. The researchers explained that fat present in the body could absorb part of the drug before it can reach the tumour. The findings were published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

The researchers came to the conclusion after analysing data from a clinical trial involving over 2,800 breast cancer patients over the course of more than ten years. The patients were given a combination of chemotherapy drugs with or without docetaxel. Statistical analysis of the data showed that overweight and obese patients who received docetaxel had poorer outcomes than lean patients. The results raise concerns about treating overweight and obese cancer patients with docetaxel.

The researchers are speculating if this might also apply to other cancer types that are treated with docetaxel, such as prostate or lung cancer. The findings have also compelled them to think whether other chemotherapy drugs from the same family, like paclitaxel, will show the same effect. However, they noted that more research is needed before changes in treatment can be implemented.

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Tips to lose weight the right way

Obesity is also a major risk factor for severe COVID-19 infection, which is spreading like a wildfire now. The majority of the COVID-19 patients who were admitted to the UK's NHS intensive care units were found to be overweight or obese. That's why it has become more important to reduce your weight. Eating the right food and staying active is crucial for managing your weight. Here are some easy tips to keep the numbers on your weighing scale in control.

Cut Sugar And Saturated Fats

Too much sugar in the diet can make you gain weight and increase the risk of diabetes. On the other hand, saturated fats can raise your cholesterol levels and increase your chances of heart disease. So, when you buy food items, check the levels of sugar and saturated fats. If you're aiming to lose weight, fats should be about 30 to 40 per cent of your daily calorie intake. Meat and fried foods are high in saturated and trans fats. Replace them with unsaturated fats from nuts, avocado, fish, flaxseeds, and canola oil among others.

Have more protein-rich foods

A high protein diet can help you lose fat and build muscle. Eating protein can help you burn calories by boosting your metabolic rate and reducing your appetite. To shed those extra kilos, aim for a daily protein intake between 1.6 and 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. Experts recommend that athletes and heavy exercisers should consume 2.2-3.4 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. Ideally, protein should make 20 to 30 per cent of your daily calorie intake. The best sources of protein include fish, tofu, and grilled chicken among others.

Exercise 60 90 minutes daily

Experts recommend obese individuals to perform mild-moderate exercise at least 60 90 minutes daily. For normal individuals, moderate exercise at least 45 60 minutes daily may help avoid obesity. Make sure to include both aerobic and strength training. Not only exercise help cut those extra inches, but it can also boost your mental health. Even modest amounts of exercise can improve memory, and lift your mood and reduce stress.

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