Breast cancer is no longer a guaranteed death sentence. Many women today can look forward to a long and healthy life after treatment for breast cancer. However, weight gain is an ongoing, distressing and common problem for women treated for breast cancer. The primary purpose of this study was to gain knowledge about the phenomena of weight gain in females treated for breast cancer. A descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted in a natural setting. Sample: Electronic medical records for 100 female breast cancer survivors who visited a private suburban medical oncology clinic for treatment and/or on-going follow-up for a breast cancer diagnosis. Variables: Age, menopausal status, interventions, and symptoms/side effect profiles. Data Analysis: Descriptive statistics for all study variables were computed to examine the nature of the data collected. Relationships among study variables were described using appropriate inferential statistics. Findings: Only surgical intervention demonstrated a statistically significant though weak relationship with weight gain. A weak relationship that approached statistical significance was found between hormonal blocking agents and weight gain. No statistically significant relationships were found between depression, fatigue or pain and weight gain. Sexual dysfunction and weight gain demonstrated a weak relationship that approached statistical significance. A weak positive correlation between anxiety and weight gain was statistically significant. Analysis revealed few relationships between identified symptoms and weight gain. Unexpected findings included significant relationships among multiple different symptoms. Weight gain over time was inconsistent. Implications: Further study is needed to gain a better understanding of the factors related to weight gain for breast cancer survivors. Health care providers need to initiate discussions aimed at identifying the unique concerns and issues faced by these women. Nurse educators need to prepare students to be skilled and comfortable in initiating discussion about sexuality, intimacy and other sensitive issues with women coping with breast cancer.


Donna J. Brauer

Committee Member

Sandra K. Eggenberger

Date of Degree




Document Type



Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)


School of Nursing


Allied Health and Nursing

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License



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