Research has shown that weight gain and obesity can be associated with an increased risk of developing breast cancer, as well as poor outcomes. A study presented at the 2022 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting highlighted the benefits of a tailored exercise program in a group of patients with breast cancer, as well as the tools that are useful to track outcomes in practice.
Researchers at the John A. Burns School of Medicine at the University of Hawaii–Manoa in Honolulu conducted the Breast Cancer Exercise Rehabilitation Research Study. They enrolled patients with breast cancer who agreed to participate in a 12-week exercise program and undergo body composition measurements at baseline and after completion of the intervention. Measurements included:
- waist circumference
- waist-to-hip ratio
- body mass index (BMI)
- dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) body composition
- bio-electrical impedance analysis (BIA) of muscle, fat, and water
- InBody method (which included whole body fat, whole body fat percentage, trunk fat, leg fat, body fat percentage, hip width at maximum girth, body fat mass, and percentage of body fat)
A total of 34 patients completes the exercise program. The intervention resulted in reduced body fat and increased lean mass, whole body mass, basal metabolic rate, water retention, and skeletal muscle mass, as shown via DXA scan, BIA, and InBody. Notably, the researchers found that BMI was comparable to DXA to measure changes over time in whole body mass. In addition, skinfold sum was moderately comparable to DXA for measuring subcutaneous fat mass.
The researchers, led by Chloe Asato, wrote that DXA and InBody measurements are feasible and readily available in practice. They added that their findings validate the use of simple measurements in practice, such as BMI and skinfold.