New Project to Help Yorkshire Breast Cancer Patients Reduce Risk of Recurrence

11 January 2018

Yorkshire Cancer Research will invest £238,000 in a new project to help breast cancer patients in Yorkshire and the North East reduce their risk of the disease returning.
The research, led by John Saxton, Professor in Clinical Exercise Physiology at Northumbria University, Newcastle, will focus on helping breast cancer patients achieve and maintain a healthy weight following treatment. Dr Helen Crank, Reader at the Centre for Sport and Exercise Science, Sheffield Hallam University, will help to lead and coordinate this research in Sheffield and Newcastle.
Research shows that two thirds of women are overweight when diagnosed with breast cancer 1. Extra body weight can lead to higher levels of the hormone oestrogen and harmful substances in the blood, which can then fuel the growth and spread of breast cancer cells.
A support programme, including counselling sessions, skills workshops and phone calls, will be co-designed with patient representatives. Patients from Yorkshire and the North East who have undergone treatment for a type of breast cancer that uses oestrogen to grow – known as ‘ER positive’ breast cancer – will be recruited to take part in the initiative as part of a clinical trial.


Professor Saxton said: “There is already convincing evidence for the positive impact of healthy lifestyles in women living with and beyond breast cancer. However, a pragmatic intervention is needed to deliver sustainable lifestyle support to women who would benefit. This project will develop such an intervention and ensure that an increasing number of women from Yorkshire and the North East enjoy a high quality and prolonged period of survivorship after breast cancer.”
Dr Kathryn Scott, Chief Executive at Yorkshire Cancer Research, said: “With more and more women surviving breast cancer, patients’ needs post-treatment are becoming more important than ever. It’s vital that we provide the very best support to ensure people living with and beyond cancer in Yorkshire have the very best chance of a long and healthy life. We are very proud to be funding this research and would like to thank all our supporters for making this investment possible.”
The project is part of a £3.6m investment by the charity in research that will improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer across Yorkshire.



1. Demark-Wahnefried W, Campbell KL, Hayes SC. Weight management and its role in breast cancer rehabilitation. Cancer. 2012;118(8 Suppl):2277-2287.

Notes to Editors

  • Harrogate-based Yorkshire Cancer Research was founded in 1925 and is the largest independent regional cancer charity in England (Registered Charity 516898). We are not part of a national charity.
  • We are committed to reducing the devastating impact of cancer on the lives of people living in Yorkshire.
  • Our mission is to work in partnership, fund research and support initiatives that will help people in Yorkshire avoid, survive and cope with cancer.
  • Current statistics show that 575 people are diagnosed with cancer in Yorkshire every week. Incidence and mortality rates are higher than the England average due to social deprivation, post-industrialisation and lifestyle choices but also availability of healthcare services and difficulties accessing early diagnostics, clinical trials and the latest treatments.
  • We aim to:
    • Be the leading authority on cancer in Yorkshire, understanding the problems and priorities in the region and sharing knowledge with partners.
    • Raise awareness of cancer and how to prevent it by working in local communities, schools and colleges, sports clubs and with other health-related organisations.
    • Promote screening programmes and fund research that can improve the diagnosis of cancer so we can detect and treat it at the earliest opportunity.
    • Invest in innovative research projects at every stage of a cancer patient's journey.
    • Campaign for fair and equal access to the very best healthcare services and a greater share of the money spent nationally on research.
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