- Cancer Information
- Living well
- Living well after cancer
- Looking after yourself
- Be a healthy body weight
Be a healthy body weight
Some cancer treatments can affect your weight. People often expect to lose weight during cancer treatment, but for many people it can have the opposite effect. Weight gained during cancer treatment can be difficult to lose because of fatigue and other challenges. Whether you have lost or gained weight, it is important to work towards a healthy weight.
Being overweight or obese is a risk factor for many types of cancer (including cancer of the bowel, kidney, pancreas, oesophagus, uterus, liver and breast), heart disease and diabetes. Keeping your weight within the healthy range can help reduce the risk of cancer recurrence and improve survival. The health risk associated with your body weight can be estimated using your waist measurement (see below) and body mass index (BMI). To calculate your BMI, go to healthdirect’s BMI calculator.
Having fat around the abdomen or waist, regardless of your body size, can increase your risk of developing cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Some cancer types are also associated with increased fat around the hips and buttocks.
Knowing your waist measurement can help you work out your risk. Place a measuring tape around your waist at the narrowest point between the lower rib and the top of the hips. Make sure to breathe normally.
Use this table to determine your health risk.
|Increased||94 cm or more||80 cm or more|
|Greatly increased||102 cm or more||88 cm or more|
Video: What role does exercise play in my cancer recovery?
Watch this webinar to learn more about the role exercise plays in cancer recovery and share how you can start and adjust exercise after treatment.
Download a PDF booklet on this topic.
Prof Michael Jefford, Medical Oncologist and Director, Australian Cancer Survivorship Centre, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Lucy Bailey, Nurse Counsellor, Cancer Council Queensland; Philip Bullas, Consumer; Dr Kate Gunn, Clinical Psychologist and Senior Research Fellow, Department of Rural Health, University of South Australia, SA; Rosemerry Hodgkin, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council WA; Prof David Joske, Clinical Haematologist, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital and Clinical Professor of Medicine, The University of Western Australia, WA; Kim Kerin-Ayres, Clinical Nurse Consultant, Cancer Survivorship, Concord Hospital, NSW; Sally Littlewood, Physiotherapist, Seymour Health, VIC; Georgina Lohse, Social Worker, GV Health,VIC; Melanie Moore, Exercise Physiologist and Clinical Supervisor, University of Canberra Cancer Wellness Clinic, ACT; June Savva, Senior Clinician Dietitian, Nutrition and Dietetics, Monash Cancer Centre, Monash Health, VIC; Dr Elysia Thornton-Benko, Specialist General Practitioner and Research Fellow, University of New South Wales, NSW; Prof Janette Vardy, Medical Oncologist, Concord Cancer Centre and Professor of Cancer Medicine, The University of Sydney, NSW; Lyndell Wills, Consumer.
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