A trial looking at exercise and healthy eating for women with breast cancer (B-AHEAD)

Cancer type:

Breast cancer

Status:

Results

Phase:

Phase 2

This trial compared 3 different ways of promoting a healthy lifestyle in women who have breast cancer.

This trial was open to women to join between 2008 and 2010.

A poster of the results was presented at a conference in 2011.

More about this trial

About 75 out of every 100 women (75%) diagnosed with breast cancer put on weight during treatment, including women who were a normal healthy weight before their diagnosis. Many women would like advice about diet and exercise but at the moment very few women are given this information.
 
The researchers say that there is increasing evidence that weight control and exercise may reduce the risk of the cancer coming back, reduce the risk of other health problems and improve quality of life.
 
This trial looked at 3 different ways to control weight. Women either had:
  • a healthy living booklet
  • individual advice on healthy eating and physical activity followed by support at home by letter and phone
  • individual advice on healthy eating and physical activity followed by weekly group exercise and dietary education classes
The results of each group were compared to find out which was better at helping women of a healthy weight to maintain their weight and overweight women to lose weight. The team also wanted to know how possible it was to do a trial like this.
 

Summary of results

The trial team found that people were interested and motivated to make positive lifestyle changes after a diagnosis of breast cancer. 
 
About this trial
This was a phase 2 trial. 409 women agreed to join the trial.  

It was a randomised trial. The women were put into 1 of 3 groups. Neither they nor their doctor chose which group they were in. 

138 women received a booklet on healthy living after breast cancer. They were in the control group.
   
Women in the other 2 groups received information about diet and exercise from a dietitian and an exercise specialist that was tailored for their individual needs. 

After this initial meeting 134 women received information by mail and a telephone call a week for 12 weeks. The phone calls were to see how they were getting on with their plan. This was the mail group. 

After their initial meeting the other 137 women attended exercise classes and dietary education sessions every week for 12 weeks. This was the supervision group. 


Results
The team looked at the change in the women’s weight and body fat over a 6 month period. In each group they looked at women who were overweight and women who were of a healthy weight. 

 
Change in weight
The average change in weight for women in the control group was:
  • a loss of half kilogram (0.5kg) for overweight women
  • an increase of 1 kilogram (1kg) for women of a healthy weight
For women in the mail group it was:
  • a loss of just over 2 kilograms (2.1kg) for overweight women 
  • a loss of less than 1 kilogram (0.1kg) for women of a healthy weight
For women in the supervision group it was:
  • a loss of just over 1 and a half kilograms (1.8kg) for overweight women
  • a loss of less than 1 kilogram (0.2kg) for women of a healthy weight
Change in body fat
The average change of body fat in the control group was:
  • a loss of half a kilogram (0.5kg) for overweight women
  • an increase of just over a half a kilogram (0.7kg) for women of a healthy weight
For women in the mail group it was:
  • a loss of just over 1 and a half kilograms (1.7kg) for overweight women
  • a loss of just under half a kilogram (0.3kg) for women of a healthy weight
For women in the supervision group it was:
  • a loss of 1 and a half kilograms (1.5kg) for overweight women
  • a loss of just under half a kilogram (0.4kg) for women of a healthy weight 
Feasibility 
Of all the women who were approached to join the trial, just under half (48%) agreed to. 
 
Of the 409 women who agreed to join, 92 out of every 100 of them (92%) completed the trial.
 
33 women (8%) didn’t complete the trial. The reasons were:
  • the breast cancer had come back in 7 women
  • 2 women developed another cancer  
  • 7 women had other health problems
  • 5 women had family issues
  • 4 of the women’s work and other time commitments meant they couldn’t continue
  • 1 woman had regained weight
  • 4 women had stress
  • 3 women couldn’t be followed up (they were lost to follow up)

 Of the 137 women who were in the supervised group, 71 out of every 100 of them (71%) attended the classes.

Of the 134 women who were in the mail group, 88 out of every 100 of them (88%) received their phone calls.

Conclusion
A high number of women agreed to take part in this trial and completed it. Because of this the trial team concluded that a trial like B-AHEAD was possible.

When compared with the control group both the supervised and mail groups gave good results. 

These are initial results. We will add further results as the trial team publishes them.

Where this information comes from

We have based this summary on information from the research team. The information they sent us has been reviewed by independent specialists (peer reviewed) but may not have been published in a medical journal.  The figures we quote above were provided by the research team. We have not analysed the data ourselves.

Recruitment start:

Recruitment end:

How to join a clinical trial

Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Chief Investigator

Dr Michelle Harvie

Supported by

Department of Health
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer
NIHR Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB) Programme
The Genesis Appeal
University Hospital of South Manchester (UHSM)

Questions about cancer? Contact our information nurses

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:

771

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Caroline took part in a clinical trial for breast cancer

“I had treatment last year and I want to give something back.”

Last reviewed:

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