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Dr. Hudis on Approaching the Topic of Obesity in Cancer

Clifford A. Hudis, MD
Published: Thursday, Apr 02, 2015



Clifford A. Hudis, MD, chief, Breast Cancer Medicine Service, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, discusses the challenges with approaching the topic of obesity in patients with cancer.

One of the challenges with scientifically approaching overweight patients with cancer is lacking the quality evidence needed to provide them with meaningful advice. There is debate on if all overweight patients are the same, or if there is a subset where an intervention is necessary. This subset is the majority of patients with inflammation, Hudis adds. However, there is believed to be a subset of patients who are not obese, but do have similar amounts of inflammation. This leads researchers to theorize that inflammation is a target.

Hudis also questions if anti-inflammatory drugs, weight loss, or specific foods or dietary supplements would have an effect on patients. There is no high-level evidence to support this, and Hudis cautions that irreversible damage may have already occurred in these patients from being overweight. 

The key issue with obesity in breast cancer, Hudis says, is to better understand the problem, as it may unlock some information to the physiology of cancer and ways to intervene.


Clifford A. Hudis, MD, chief, Breast Cancer Medicine Service, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, discusses the challenges with approaching the topic of obesity in patients with cancer.

One of the challenges with scientifically approaching overweight patients with cancer is lacking the quality evidence needed to provide them with meaningful advice. There is debate on if all overweight patients are the same, or if there is a subset where an intervention is necessary. This subset is the majority of patients with inflammation, Hudis adds. However, there is believed to be a subset of patients who are not obese, but do have similar amounts of inflammation. This leads researchers to theorize that inflammation is a target.

Hudis also questions if anti-inflammatory drugs, weight loss, or specific foods or dietary supplements would have an effect on patients. There is no high-level evidence to support this, and Hudis cautions that irreversible damage may have already occurred in these patients from being overweight. 

The key issue with obesity in breast cancer, Hudis says, is to better understand the problem, as it may unlock some information to the physiology of cancer and ways to intervene.



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