Can losing weight help breast cancer patients survive? Fitbit joins study to find out

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I’ve been lucky enough to meet several breast cancer survivors–some who fought it decades ago–and it would be really exciting to know if losing weight and exercise played a major role in that.

It seems like most cancer patients suffer an unhealthy amount of weight loss during treatment, although my experience was just the opposite. The steroids and other drugs I was given gave me a raging appetite and it’s been tough to shed that weight.


Going to the doctor as a fat person is already a horrible trial, and this just lends more fuel to doctors who ignore your actual symptoms to focus on trying to get you to lose weight. People of size are systematically told that all their health problems come from being “overweight” even when there is no scientific data to support the idea that one particular weight is the “healthy normal” for humans.

A more useful study would be one that examines the link between fatshaming by doctors and mortality rates in cancer patients. Maybe training doctors to be able to prescribe treatments that are unbiased by their fatphobia will save more lives than buying a fitbit?


@sam_make, there is data that consistently shows that having a higher percentage body fat increases risk of negative health outcomes. Addressing nutrition and physical activity should be incorporated into the assessment. I’m not aware how the doctors actually address these issues but I wouldn’t be surprised if some don’t address it professionally.

I have no likes to give, but I think you wrote some important points.

If you can’t trust your doctor, if you feel they are judging you harshly instead of being a strong supporter, of course your medical care isn’t going to be as effective.

Also, cancer treatment involves a lot of side effects, many of which involve what and how much one can eat, how exhausted one feels, and how physically capable one is for formal exercise. And, as @SpunkyTWS pointed out, treatment can actually cause an unhealthy amount of weight LOSS, which is even more dangerous for the health and life of the patient.

Sure, a healthy diet and healthy exercise is optimal for everyone, all the time. Does your doctor know you and care about you enough to figure out how to help you maximize your treatment without making you feel like you’re not doing enough? That’s the sweet spot.


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