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Trinitas Becomes a Major New Jersey Site for National Cancer Institute Breast Cancer Weight Loss Study

Michelle Cholankeril, Medical Oncologist, Trinitas Comprehensive Cancer Center

Trinitas Regional Medical Center is participating in a potentially ground-breaking study that investigates the impact of weight loss on breast cancer recurrence. The Breast Cancer Weight Loss (BWEL) study, sponsored by the National Cancer Institute and the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology, enrolls overweight and obese women with early-stage breast cancer to test if weight loss can help prevent their disease from returning.

“The BWEL Study offers both preventative and curative medicine to our breast cancer survivors seeking physical fitness and wellness. It also makes a weight loss program available to our underserved community of patients that may not ordinarily have access to a fitness routine,” states Michelle Cholankeril, Medical Oncologist at Trinitas Comprehensive Cancer Center. 

“Health and wellness is a major piece of surviving cancer. This includes physical, psychosocial and economic needs of a patient post-treatment. This study helps us incorporate the need for physical and mental health into our survivorship plan to make it that much more successful,” she added.

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According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 20% of women treated for breast cancer today experience a recurrence of the disease, with most of those women developing metastatic breast cancer. Excess body weight has long been linked to an increased risk of developing breast cancer, and growing evidence suggests that obesity is associated with poor prognosis in women diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer. However, despite many reports supporting a relationship between weight and breast cancer prognosis, there have been no studies examining the effect of weight loss upon the risk of breast cancer recurrence.

“The increased risk of cancer recurrence linked to excess body weight threatens to limit our progress in treating breast cancer and preventing women from dying from this disease’, says Anand Shah, Trinitas Research Associate. “If our study can show that losing weight through increasing physical activity and reducing calories improves survival rates in breast cancer, it could lead to weight loss and physical activity becoming a standard part of the treatment for millions of breast cancer patients around the world.”

If you have been diagnosed with stage II-III breast cancer within the last 12 months or have completed surgery and chemotherapy (if applicable) and are interested in participating in the Trinitas Weight Loss Study contact Anand Shah, Research Associate at (908) 994 8728 is Elizabeth’s free daily news source. Sign up for our daily eNews and follow us on Facebook at and Twitter @TAPElizabeth. 


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