Women with breast cancer sought for nationwide weight loss study

Monday, May 20, 2019

Researchers: Can losing weight prevent recurrence of breast cancer?

Beaumont researchers are seeking women with breast cancer for a national research study. Investigators hope to learn if weight loss decreases the likelihood of a recurrence of breast cancer. The research is known as the BWEL study, or Breast Cancer Weight Loss Study.

“Previous studies have found that women who are overweight or obese when their breast cancer is diagnosed have a greater risk of their breast cancer recurring, as compared to women who were thinner when their cancer was found,” explained Dr. George Howard, principal investigator for Beaumont Health.

This study is conducted by the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology, a national clinical research group supported by the National Cancer Institute. The Alliance is made up of cancer doctors, health professionals and laboratory researchers whose goal is to develop better treatments for cancer, to prevent cancer, to reduce side effects from cancer and to improve the quality of life of cancer patients.

Added Dr. Howard, “At this time, we do not know whether or not losing weight will reduce the risk of breast cancer returning. This study seeks to determine whether or not the higher risk for breast cancer recurrence in women who are overweight or obese when they are diagnosed with breast cancer could be reduced or eliminated with weight loss.”

The nationwide study will enroll approximately 3,100 women into one of two groups. A computer will randomly assign study volunteers into a group. Group 1 participants will receive a health education program designed to give women more information about their breast cancer and their overall health. Group 2 participants will get the health education program and a 2-year weight loss program. The program is designed to help women lose about 10% of their starting weight by decreasing calories they eat and increasing their exercise.

The research will be conducted at Beaumont hospitals in Dearborn, Farmington Hills, Grosse Pointe, Royal Oak and Troy.

More detailed information on the study criteria is available by contacting Beaumont’s Cancer Clinical Trials Office at 248-551-7695. For more information on the study, please visit http://www.ClinicalTrials.gov condition “breast cancer” and search term “BWEL.”