Does Exercise Help Cancer Patients and Survivors?

There’s consistent and solid evidence that physical activity reduces risk of several cancers — such as colorectal and postmenopausal breast. Data is not as strong when it comes to survival but it’s growing, especially for breast and colorectal survivors.Screen Shot 2014-10-30 at 12.23.16pm

That’s the latest from expert Christine Friedenreich, who led off the presentations about physical activity’s effect on survivorship at our research conference today.

Randomized clinical trials (RCTs) are considered the gold standard of studies, which would compare a random group of survivors who follow an exercise intervention to those not doing it. Currently, we don’t have RCTs but there is observational evidence showing benefits, said Friedenreich.

Exercise may supply its benefits in a number of ways: It may help patients complete their treatment or it could help control harms of the therapy. Animal studies suggest exercise may also help the therapy get to the tumor by improving blood flow.

But can the course of exercise alter the course of the disease? Two major studies highlighted will hopefully provide some answers. One is ALBERTA a major observational study focusing on exercise and breast cancer survivors. Then CHALLENGE is a randomized control trial investigating exercise among colon cancer survivors.

Here’s the guidelines from the American College of Sports Medicine on exercise for survivors.

And here’s the latest on our CUP report that came out this month on survival and breast cancer.


Friends, Family and Weight Loss: How You Can Help Me

Last week Sonja helped us with choosing apps for keeping food records – one strategy research shows is key for successful weight loss. Another crucial piece to the weight management puzzle – and making healthier choices – is being able to rely on support from family, friends and colleagues.Two Overweight Women On Diet Eating Healthy Meal In Kitchen

That’s important because getting to and staying a healthy weight is AICR’s first recommendation for cancer prevention. Too much body fat increases risk for eight cancers, including colorectal, postmenopausal breast, and endometrial cancers.

When you experience a setback in your weight loss efforts, you might think you just need more willpower or to be mentally stronger, but research shows that even with our best efforts, those around us affect our weight loss success. I saw that dynamic in action too many times in my work with college students trying to lose weight. They’d be making progress with eating less junk food or finding ways to be more active, and then time at home with family and friends could quickly seem to undo the good work.

But you can change that. You may be starting new habits this fall making positive eating or activity changes, so how can you make sure you have the support you need? Here are 3 tips to help you garner positive help from those around you: Continue reading


Breakfast: Still Good for Health and Preventing Cancer?

Important or not? If you’ve seen breakfast news stories lately, you may wonder if you need to bother with that steaming bowl of oatmeal or morning yogurt and fruit.Yoghurt with fresh fruits and almonds

The two recent studies, highlighted in Cancer Research Update this week, focused on how breakfast affects weight. These trials were short term, but they do seem to show that if you just don’t like or want to eat breakfast, it may not make a difference for weight loss. If that finding holds, it could give you more flexibility in finding ways that work for you to get extra weight off.

However, there are great reasons to start your day off with something healthy – whether you consider it breakfast or a snack: Continue reading