(HealthDay News) — Telephone weight-loss counseling is similarly effective to in-person counseling for breast cancer survivors with a BMI of at least 25, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Maura Harrigan, RD, from Yale University in New Haven, Conn., and colleagues randomly assigned 100 breast cancer survivors with a BMI of 25 or greater to in-person counseling (n=33), telephone counseling (n=34), or usual care (n=33). 

Over 6 months, participants in the in-person and telephone counseling groups received 11 30-minute counseling sessions that focused on reducing caloric intake, increasing physical activity, and behavioral therapy. At baseline and 6 months, the authors assessed body composition, physical activity, diet, and serum biomarkers.

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The researchers found that the average 6-month weight loss was 6.4% for in-person counseling, 5.4% for telephone counseling, and 2.0% for usual care (P=.004, .009, and .46 comparing in-person with usual care, telephone with usual care, and in-person with telephone, respectively). 

Women assigned to the combined weight-loss intervention groups had a significant 30% decrease in C-reactive protein levels, compared with a 1% decrease seen among women in the usual care group (P= .05).

“Our findings may help guide the incorporation of weight-loss counseling into breast cancer treatment and care,” the researchers wrote.


  1. Harrigan M, Cartmel B, Loftfield E, et al. Randomized Trial Comparing Telephone Versus In-Person Weight Loss Counseling on Body Composition and Circulating Biomarkers in Women Treated for Breast Cancer: The Lifestyle, Exercise, and Nutrition (LEAN) Study. J Clin Oncol. 2015;doi:10.1200/JCO.2015.61.6375.