Weight Gain Linked to Hot Flashes After Breast Cancer

Early-stage breast cancer survivors may be able to relieve hot flashes by maintaining their weight

WEDNESDAY, March 21 (HealthDay News) -- Early-stage breast cancer survivors who gain at least 10 percent of their pre-diagnosis weight are significantly more likely to report hot flashes than those who remain weight stable, according to a study published online March 19 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Bette J. Caan, Dr.P.H., of Kaiser Permanente Northern California in Oakland, and colleagues used data from the Women's Healthy Eating and Living study to evaluate the relationship between body weight change after breast cancer diagnosis and hot flashes in 3,088 early-stage breast cancer survivors.

The researchers found that, at study entry, 36.1 percent of women reported moderate-to-severe hot flashes. Two years following their breast cancer diagnosis, women who gained 10 percent or more of their pre-diagnosis body weight were significantly more likely to experience hot flashes than those who maintained their weight (odds ratio, 1.33; P = 0.003). Although not statistically significant, women who lost at least 10 percent of their pre-diagnosis body weight were less likely to experience hot flashes (odds ratio, 0.72; P = 0.118). The trend of weight change on hot flashes was found to be significant.

"Breast cancer survivors who gained 10 percent or more of their pre-diagnosis weight after a breast cancer diagnosis more frequently experienced moderate-to-severe hot flashes than women who remained within 10 percent of their pre-diagnosis weight," the authors write. "In addition, there was a suggestion that weight loss was associated with a reduction of hot flashes."

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