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Obese women disadvantaged in both breast cancer treatment and diagnosis
Date:4/16/2008

ter understand exactly what role obesity plays in the prognosis of the patients. There are some reports showing that obese patients are generally under-treated with chemotherapy (lower dose intensity) and we are currently looking at this important issue in our study.

Patients included in this analysis belong to a trial in which they will be followed for at least ten years from the date of their original randomisation, said Dr. de Azambuja. We will be continuing to analyse the data to see whether there are changes over time. Several other researchers have demonstrated that obesity is linked to worse prognosis in breast cancer patients, and obesity has been linked with many other diseases, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Politicians need urgently to put in place programmes to reduce the incidence of obesity and its consequences.

In another presentation to the conference, Dr. Elisabetta Rapiti, of the Geneva Cancer Registry, Geneva, Switzerland, said that her research had found that obese breast cancer patients presented more often with advanced disease than did those who were not obese. Given that obesity has reached endemic proportions around the world, it is important that we try to understand its effects in all health areas, she said. We need urgently to find ways of managing breast cancer in obese women.

Dr. Rapiti and colleagues studied 1100 women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in the canton of Geneva between 2003 and 2005. For 460 of these patients, information on weight and height was available, and the scientists were able to calculate individual BMIs. They then compared diagnostic characteristics stage at diagnosis, the palpability of the primary tumour, use of ultrasound and MRI, etc of obese women with those of non-obese patients.

They found that obese women presented significantly more often with stage 3-4 disease, and that they were less likely to have undergone ultrasound or MRI examinat
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Contact: Mary Rice
mary@mrcommunication.org
ECCO-the European CanCer Organisation
Source:Eurekalert

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