For years, AICR has written about the growing body of evidence showing that the same lifestyle choices found to reduce the risk of developing cancer – a healthy diet, a healthy weight and physical activity –can also help survivors live longer and healthier. Research is still growing but last week, the evidence became even clearer when the American Cancer Society released new guidelines for survivors.
The ACS guidelines advise survivors to exercise, eat healthy, and maintain a healthy weight. The expert panelists who evaluated the evidence concluded that following these recommendations can lower the risk of the cancer recurring and improve the chances of disease-free survival.
The updated guidelines for survivors were published last week in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. You can read the complete guidelines here.
We asked Elisa Bandera, MD, PhD, one of the expert panelists, to help explain the recommendations. Bandera, a nutritional epidemiologist at The Cancer Institute of New Jersey, is also a member of the expert panel on AICR’s Continuous Update Project
Q: Can you give a sense of how much research there is on diet, weight, and exercise related to survivorship, and how recent it is? A: Surprisingly, not much research has been done in this area, compared to the literature on nutrition and physical activity and cancer risk. Currently, most of the evidence comes from studies on breast cancer.However, this is an area that is growing exponentially and several ongoing studies are going to be producing more results in the near future.
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.
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 Updatehighlights 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. Read more… “Exercise Helps Survivors: New Analysis”
We fund cutting-edge research and give people practical tools and information to help them prevent–and survive–cancer.
American Institute for Cancer Research
P: (800) 843-8114 | Fax: (202) 328-7226