(HealthDay News) — Among women with a family history of breast cancer, breast cancer survivors tend to gain more weight than women who are free of the disease, new research suggests. 

The study was published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

The researchers compared 303 breast cancer survivors with 307 women who were cancer-free. All were participants in a study of women with a familial risk of breast and ovarian cancer. Women with BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations were included.

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“We found that breast cancer survivors, especially those who received chemotherapy, gained more weight compared to cancer-free women,” lead researcher Amy Gross, a doctoral candidate at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, told HealthDay.

Overall, breast cancer survivors gained an average of about 4 pounds more than their cancer-free counterparts in the first 5 years after diagnosis, Gross and her colleagues found. Those who were diagnosed with estrogen receptor-negative breast cancer gained an average of 7 pounds more than the cancer-free women. And those who had chemotherapy gained even more weight. 

“We found that the survivors who had received chemotherapy were twice as likely to have gained at least 11 pounds [compared to cancer-free women],” Gross said.


  1. Gross AL et al. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2015;doi:10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-15-0212.