Expert Point of View: Marisa Weiss, MD

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Marisa Weiss, MD

Marisa Weiss, MD

At a press conference where the findings by Chlebowski et al were presented, Marisa Weiss, MD, Founder and Chief Medical Officer of and Director of Radiation Oncology at Lankenau Medical Center in Philadelphia, commended this study. “We could set a goal of losing 5 pounds for our patients with breast cancer. This has great practical utility. In a survey we did, we identified women who wanted to lower their risk of breast cancer, and most were willing to exercise and improve their diets to lose weight. They were least willing to modify alcohol use.”

“This is an important message for primary care doctors. I have always suggested that my overweight/obese patients lose weight, usually because of diabetes and other diseases, but now we have a breast cancer–related reason to suggest this,” said press conference moderator C. Kent Osborne, MD, FASCO, Director of the Dan L. Duncan Cancer Center at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston. 

“Reimbursement is an issue. Who is going to prescribe weight loss and oversee it? Oncologists aren’t encouraged to do this,” noted study lead author Rowan Chlebowski, MD, PhD, FASCO, of City of Hope National Medical Center, Duarte, California.

“Most medical oncologists are ill-equipped to provide nutritional counseling, weight loss advice, and monitoring,” agreed Joseph Sparano, MD, of Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York.

“This study gives us a new finding—that weight loss of 5% or greater is associated with about a 10% reduction in breast cancer risk. There are other benefits associated with weight loss. This message has more implications for the primary care provider and gives us an impetus to reduce the risk of contralateral breast cancer,” Dr. Sparano said. ■

DISCLOSURE: Drs. Weiss, Osborne, Chlebowski, and Sparano reported no -conflicts of interest.

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