Is bariatric surgery an option for women with gynecologic cancer? Examining weight loss counseling practices and training among gynecologic oncology providers.

Neff R, McCann GA, Carpenter KM, Cohn DE, Noria S, Mikami D, Needleman BJ, O'Malley DM
Gynecol Oncol 134 540-5 09/01/2014


OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to evaluate gynecologic oncology provider (GOP) practices regarding weight loss (WL) counseling, and to assess their willingness to initiate weight loss interventions, specifically bariatric surgery (WLS).

METHODS: Members of the Society of Gynecologic Oncology were invited to complete an online survey of 49 items assessing knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors related to WL counseling.

RESULTS: A total of 454 participants initiated the survey, yielding a response rate of 30%. The majority of respondents (85%) were practicing GOP or fellows. A majority of responders reported that >50% of their patient population is clinically obese (BMI ≥ 30). Only 10% reported having any formal training in WL counseling, most often in medical school or residency. Providers who feel adequate about WL counseling were more likely to offer multiple WL options to their patients (p<.05). Over 90% of responders believe that WLS is an effective WL option and is more effective than self-directed diet and medical management of obesity. Providers who were more comfortable with WL counseling were significantly more likely to recommend WLS (p<.01). Approximately 75% of respondents expressed interest in clinical trials evaluating WLS in obese cancer survivors.

CONCLUSIONS: The present study suggests that GOP appreciate the importance of WL counseling, but often fail to provide it. Our results demonstrate the paucity of formal obesity training in oncology. Providers seem willing to recommend WLS as an option to their patients but also in clinical trials examining gynecologic cancer outcomes in women treated with BS.

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