Weight loss and highly hormone sensitive cancer

Hello ladies,

I’m still going through chemo (3 more weeks to go) followed by rads but am thinking ahead. My bc is highly hormone sensitive (8/8 for both ER & PR) and I found my big lump after losing 15kg of pregnancy weight.


Given that I’ve now put back on all that weight plus some more, I’m worried that when after treatment I try to lose weigth again the cancer could come back since the fat cells will release ER.


Has anyone else had anything similar and what advise where you given, how did you cope with it all? Thanks

Hi there

I don’t have advice I’m afraid but I have thoughts along the same lines. I put on weight during chemo between inactivity, comfort eating, steroids etc. I had a lecture from my bcn re reducing weight and body fat as fat makes oestrogen. I was then prescribed tamoxifen of which one of the main side effects is weight gain. I had terrible menopausal symptoms with it so was then given megace to try which is an appetite stimulant. This makes no sense to me at all. I’ve now stopped taking any of the drugs and instead have changed my diet and joined a gym. I’d rather reduce my body fat and get healthier overall than take more drugs when there is no guarantee that you’ll benefit from them anyway.

I fully understand your anxiety, I really do. My ER was also 8/8 but I actually lost several stone in weight during treatment because a side effect of my chemo was that all food tasted foul! I had been “in denial” pre-diagnosis - I told myself I was only a couple of pounds overweight but in reality it was more like a couple of stone and some - getting cancer was a real wake up call!!! I could kick myself now for letting myself get fat and I won’t kid you, the idea of putting the weight back on again and the cancer coming back frightens me too. I finished all my treatments several months ago and I take Anastrozole every day.  I have kept my weight steady by eating sensibly. I feel much, much fitter now than I was pre-diagnosis - hopefully you will too. My personal choice has been to give up cows’ milk - I find coconut milk a good substitute and you can buy it in the supermarkets (or almond milk etcetera if you prefer). The diet I follow is this: porridge made with water (and sultanas for sweetness) in the morning, or as ‘home-made’ muesli, or an egg, scrambled or boiled, or some beans on wholemeal toast spread with marmite (not butter).  I eat a ‘normal’ meal (meat or fish and cooked veg, mash etc) at lunch time but watch my portion sizes and no longer feel that I must clear my plate (a bad habit that has taken me years to break because I was told to think of the starving children in Africa who would be glad of it - just a pity I couldn’t have got it to them!)  In the evening I eat a large salad with some protein (oily fish is good but go easy on the cheese). I also exercise every day for an hour (including weights to strengthen my bones because Anastrozole is not ‘bone-sparing’ apparently) although I realise that not everyone has time to do this.  I avoid ALL cakes, biscuits, sweets and ice-cream and eat a wide variety of fruit instead.  (I have a couple of squares of really good quality dark chocolate a day and a bit of popcorn sometimes as an occasional treat) I only eat wholemeal bread. Lots of roughage not only keeps you regular but makes you feel full!  I try hard not to snack after the last meal of the day (if I do I make it a ‘sensible’ snack). By the way, did you know that if you search the internet you can find out what foods are pro-oestrogen and which are anti-oestrogen?  Perhaps I am a bit extreme in this way - I avoid tomatoes now whereas I used to love them but this is just my personal choice. Some foods are also reputed to speed up metabolism (see internet) and I eat these too. I had a free health-check recently and my BMI was 24 and my blood pressure only 112/60 - not bad for a ‘golden oldie’.  Oh, one more very important thing - I weigh myself EVERY SINGLE DAY, FIRST THING IN THE MORNING - it is much easier to ‘tweak’ your diet by cutting back just a little the next day to lose one or two pounds than leave it a week or so and try to lose that extra half a stone! I really hope I have been of some help to you because it works for me. All the best :heart: