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Dr. Irwin on Exercise and Weight Loss After Breast Cancer Diagnosis

Melinda L. Irwin, PhD
Published: Monday, Apr 06, 2015



Melinda L. Irwin, PhD, MPH, associate professor, Yale School of Public Health, co-program leader, Cancer Prevention and Control Research Program, Yale Cancer Center, discusses the results of studies she conducted examining the effects of exercise and weight loss in patients with breast cancer.

It is believed that exercise and weight are related to developing certain types of cancer, such as breast cancer, Irwin explains. However, an observational finding that exercise after diagnosis of breast cancer could lower the risk of recurrence or mortality led Irwin to conduct studies of the biological mechanisms that could explain this association.

One of the studies looked at women with breast cancer who did not exercise, and randomized them to begin an exercise program or usual care. Researchers collected blood, and found that exercise was linked to decreases in blood-based biomarkers such as insulin and c-reactive protein (CRP), which are associated with developing and dying from breast cancer.

Irwin also examined weight loss with exercise in patients already diagnosed with breast cancer. The study demonstrated similar findings, such as a 30% decrease in CRP from an approximate 5% weight loss in women with breast cancer.


Melinda L. Irwin, PhD, MPH, associate professor, Yale School of Public Health, co-program leader, Cancer Prevention and Control Research Program, Yale Cancer Center, discusses the results of studies she conducted examining the effects of exercise and weight loss in patients with breast cancer.

It is believed that exercise and weight are related to developing certain types of cancer, such as breast cancer, Irwin explains. However, an observational finding that exercise after diagnosis of breast cancer could lower the risk of recurrence or mortality led Irwin to conduct studies of the biological mechanisms that could explain this association.

One of the studies looked at women with breast cancer who did not exercise, and randomized them to begin an exercise program or usual care. Researchers collected blood, and found that exercise was linked to decreases in blood-based biomarkers such as insulin and c-reactive protein (CRP), which are associated with developing and dying from breast cancer.

Irwin also examined weight loss with exercise in patients already diagnosed with breast cancer. The study demonstrated similar findings, such as a 30% decrease in CRP from an approximate 5% weight loss in women with breast cancer.



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