Breast Cancer Patients with Muscle Have Better Chance of Survival

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Woman who are suffering from breast cancer have something to cheer. Cancer is more dangerous and survival rate is less, but the women who are suffering with breast cancer can fare well and increase their survival rate if they have muscle. Yes!! It is true. A new study published in JAMA Oncology finds that women with breast cancer who have more muscle mass have a better chance of survival.

In general, when people aren’t well they can lose a lot of weight, and much of that weight is muscle. Low muscle mass, called sarcopenia in medicine, also often occurs as we age, and it seems to correlate with poorer outcomes in people who are chronically ill, including those who suffer from cancer. Previous studies on breast cancer and muscle mass have been done on women with more advanced cancer.

This new study included younger women with less advanced breast cancer, and it found that even among this group, a smaller amount of muscle is associated with a poorer outcome. The study included 3,241 women from Kaiser Permanente of Northern California and Dana Farber Cancer Institute who were diagnosed between January 2000 and December 2013 with stages II or III breast cancer.

The researchers, who used CT scans of participants to look directly at how cancer affects muscle, aren’t sure why low muscle mass is linked to lower survival. But they suggest it may have something to do with how cancer directly affects muscle tissue. Cancer-related inflammation may cause muscle mass to go down, and fat deposits to go up. Lower muscle mass is expected to have more chance of death.

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