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BCRF Grantee Since


Area(s) of Focus

Maria Azrad, PhD, RD

American Society of Preventive Oncology (ASPO)
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Birmingham, AL

Current Research

In her current BCRF-funded research project, Dr. Azrad hopes to elucidate racial differences in the response to weight loss through lifestyle modification. Specifically, she will determine whether weight loss through diet and exercise is similar in African-American breast cancer survivors compared to age-matched White breast cancer survivors and determine the effects of weight loss on markers of glucose metabolism and obesity-related hormones associated with poor breast cancer outcomes. To accomplish these objectives, she will utilize extant data and fasting blood samples from the largest weight loss study in breast cancer survivors, “Exercise & Nutrition for Enhancing Recovery & Good health for You” (ENERGY). This study is a multi-site weight loss trial that has enrolled 693 overweight/obese women previously diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer. The data generated from this research project will be used to fulfill Dr. Azrad’s long-term goal of conducting clinical trials specifically designed to improve the health of African-American breast cancer survivors.


Maria Azrad, PhD, RD, is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) in the Department of Nutrition Sciences and received training from the NCI-funded Cancer Prevention and Control Training Program. Dr. Azrad’s research focuses on the associations between obesity, African-American ethnicity and risk for poor breast cancer outcomes. Observational studies have provided evidence that African-American women tend to be heavier, have impaired glucose metabolism and a hormonal milieu that could favor growth, invasion and metastasis of new or residual breast cancer cells compared to White women. Weight loss in obese African-American women diagnosed with breast cancer may be an effective strategy to improve breast cancer prognosis in this vulnerable population.