Analysis: Obesity Links to Earlier Mortality for Breast Cancer Survivors

A new study involving the emerging research on lifestyle’s role in breast cancer survivorship suggests that obesity — both before and after a breast cancer diagnosis — is associated with earlier death from cancer or other causes, compared to women at a healthy weight. Survivor

The paper was published yesterday in the Annals of Oncology. It adds to a complex and relatively new area of research: what survivors can do to lengthen life and stay healthy.

In a major report on breast cancer survivorship due this Fall, World Cancer Research Fund International’s Continuous Update Project (CUP) expert panel will consider this latest paper as it works to shape official recommendations for cancer survivors. AICR is the US member of World Cancer Research Fund International.

The Annals of Oncology paper was written by a team of scientists involved in the CUP, including Anne McTiernan, MD, PhD, Director of the Prevention Center at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. The paper found that “increased body size is significantly related to survival after a diagnosis of breast cancer…” said Dr. McTiernan. But the findings are not proof, she says, more research is needed. Continue reading


Study: Male Cancer Survivors Who are Active Live Longer

Research already shows that being active can reduce the risk of developing several cancers. Now comes a study that suggests for men, taking that brisk daily walk after a cancer diagnosis may lengthen your life.bigstock-Walking-2525305

The study was published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health, and it adds to a growing body of research suggesting that exercise can have significant health benefits for cancer survivors.

“The main take away message is that physical activity improves survival in men with cancer, says I-Min Lee, MD, ScD, an epidemiologist at the  Harvard School of Public Health and lead author of the study.

”There have been previous studies, examining survival in breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer patients, showing similar findings.  Our study included not only survivors of these cancers, but of other cancers “

For the study, Lee and her colleagues looked at data collected in 1988 from a group of about 1,000 male cancer survivors. On average the men had been diagnosed six years previously – in 1982. In 1988 the men reported on their activity habits.  They also answered questions about their weight, smoking habits, alcohol consumption, and what foods they ate. The data was updated five years later. Continue reading


From the Field: Working with Survivors for Stronger Bones

dreamstime_xs_12022463Yesterday at our research conference, one popular session focused on bone health for cancer survivors. More than 40 million adults in the US have or are at high risk for osteoporosis, a bone weakening disease.

Often due to some cancer therapies, survivors are at higher risk for bone loss and osteoporosis than the general population.

Breast and prostate cancer treatments may cause low estrogen or androgen levels, two hormones important for strong bones.

Between sessions, I talked with several oncology dietitians about how they work with survivors on bone health in their centers and clinics. While not unanimous, most RDs said their patients are very aware of their increased risk for bone loss and receive DEXA screening — a test for bone mineral density — and treatment, including diet and lifestyle prescriptions as well as appropriate medications. Continue reading