The prevalence and management of weight gain and cancer risk-related health behaviours in women at risk of breast cancer

Student thesis: Phd


Breast cancer (BC) is the most frequent female malignancy in the UK and worldwide. Potentially modifiable factors such as adult weight gain, alcohol, smoking and lack of physical activity (PA) are estimated to be linked to around 20% of cases. Health behaviours increase risk to an equal or greater extent in women with a family history of BC compared to those at population risk. This PhD researches the magnitude of adult weight gain and the presence of overweight and sub-optimal health behaviours in women at increased risk. It includes eight projects culminating in development and testing of an app to prevent weight gain in young women at increased risk. Theme 1: The problem of weight gain: My narrative review showed that significant weight gain occurs in young adulthood (age 18-35 years). Key life events associated with weight gain include pregnancy and motherhood, marriage and cohabiting, mediators of weight gain include lack of knowledge, and moderators include socioeconomic status. Analysis of data from the PROCAS study (n=47,042) found that higher BMI at age 20 was inversely associated with postmenopausal BC (HR per SD 0.87, 95% CI 0.79-0.95), and that weight gain was positively associated with BC only in women with BMI at age 20
Date of Award1 Aug 2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorMichelle Harvie (Supervisor) & David French (Supervisor)


  • women
  • interview
  • e-health
  • app
  • health behaviour
  • weight gain
  • BMI
  • weight
  • breast cancer
  • weight maintenance

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