Breast Cancer and Weight Gain

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Many women gain a few pounds while undergoing breast cancer treatment. Chemotherapy suppresses estrogen which normally helps to fight weight gain.

Many women with breast cancer experience fluctuations in weight as a symptom of the disease or a side effect of treatment. It is normal to gain a few pounds because of the cancer. Learn more about why these changes occur below:

Treatment
People who undergo chemotherapy or are treated with steroids often find that they gain weight. Some women who have chemo go into menopause, and that also leads to weight gain. Estrogen suppresses an enzyme called lipoprotein lipase. It is controlled by insulin, and estrogen lowers the levels of LPL in the body. It can be found on the surface of cells, where it removes fat from the bloodstream and pulls it into the cell for use as fuel. When LPL is present, the cell it is on becomes fatter. Women who undergo treatment that suppresses estrogen may find that they gain weight because LPL is present in higher quantities, as it is not being lessened by the presence of estrogen. 

Lifestyle changes
Chemicals are not the only thing changing when a person is diagnosed with breast cancer. Treatment can take hours and causes most people to stress out. Plus, it takes time away from their normal day, which may include lessening the opportunities that the diagnosed person has to go to the gym or partake in the physical activities they would typically do. While undergoing treatment, many people are exhausted and fatigued and do not have the energy to go for a run or catch a yoga class. 

Weight fluctuation is OK
There are much more important things to worry about than a few extra pounds if you have breast cancer. Do your best to eat healthy and talk with your doctor about possible workout opportunities if you are feeling good and have the energy to exercise. 

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