What Activity Can Give to Survivors: Advice from a Trainer

Today’s issue of Cancer Research Update highlights the latest research in how exercise helps cancer survivors. We asked Mary, an exercise physiologist and AICR consultant, to share her experiences in working with cancer survivors.

I taught a strength training class for cancer survivors for several years. That experience allowed me to see first-hand the incredibly important role exercise plays in the healing process. My class was open to survivors of all ages and ability levels, though most were new to strength training when they started. Over the weeks and months of class, I saw a transformation in every person—both physically and emotionally.

Physically, the participants grew to trust their body again. Many showed up the first time afraid of pushing too hard or doing something that might derail their recovery. Many were also battling fatigue and were afraid of feeling even more tired. But we started slowly, Continue reading

Aspirin and Cancer

Three studies in the British medical journal The Lancet suggest that taking aspirin daily may lower the risk of cancer and reduce the chances of the disease spreading to other organs.

Both WebMD and the New York Times have excellent write-ups.

AICR’s focus is on the relationships of diet, nutrition, physical activity and weight to cancer. As such, we take no position on the effect of aspirin — a drug — on cancer risk, although we of course watch this research with interest.

The lifestyle-based cancer prevention strategies that AICR advocates — a plant-based diet, regular physical activity, staying at a healthy weight throughout life, combined with not smoking — have been shown, over decades of research, to confer real protection.

Will health experts one day recommend combining AICR’s recommendations with a daily aspirin for maximum protection? We’ll have to wait and see. In the meantime, we recommend concentrating on the healthy everyday choices about diet, weight and physical activity that can and will lower cancer risk, as well as other chronic diseases.

Exercise Helps Survivors: New Analysis

For many cancer patients, treatment can leave both physical and psychological effects on their daily lives. A strong and ever-growing body of research suggests that physical activity may help.

Today’s issue of Cancer Research Update highlights the latest analysis of the evidence looking at the effects of exercise on cancer patients who have completed their treatment. The analysis looked at the 34 randomized controlled studies (RCTs) on the topic, a type of study considered among the gold standard of studies.

Almost two-thirds of the studies focused on breast cancer and the rest looked at different types, including colon and lung. When taken together, the authors found that the patients who participated in exercise programs – lasting a median of 13 weeks – had improved physical functions, quality of life, fitness, and body weight. Continue reading