Key Objectives of the HEAL Study

The Health, Eating, Activity, and Lifestyle study is designed to:

  • Collect information on anthropometrics, body composition, and hormone measurements from women with early stage breast cancer at a baseline interview and at two years. More limited information on these measures was collected at five years and is currently in the ten-year follow-up phase.
  • Examine the relationship between physical activity, diet, weight history, and body composition and breast cancer prognostic characteristics, including stage, histologic patterns, and clinical tumor grade at diagnosis among women with early stage breast cancer.
  • Examine the relationships between modifiable prognostic factors, including physical activity, diet, body weight and composition, and breast cancer recurrence and survival.
  • Assess the associations of the following with body composition, diet, and physical activity in women with early stage breast cancer:
    • Serum estrone,
    • Estradiol,
    • Testosterone,
    • Sex hormone binding globulin,
    • C-peptide,
    • Insulin-like growth factor (IGF I),
    • Insulin-like growth factor binding protein (IGF 1 BP3),
    • Leptin,
    • Vitamin D,
    • C-reactive protein, and
    • Serum amyloid A.
  • Examine self-reported quality of life including measures of physical and mental functioning; symptoms such as fatigue, pain, lymphedema, and changes in sexual functioning; stress and psychosocial responses to the cancer experience; social support; information access; optimism; and religiosity. More limited information on these measures was collected at five years and ten years. Associations with demographic, clinical, and lifestyle factors assessed in the overall HEAL study are being examined.
  • Examine the associations between genetic polymorphisms and the other risk factors collected, in particular, serum sex and metabolic hormones and amount and distribution of fat mass.
  • Examine the associations between mammographic density and other factors and survival.