Surviving Cancer: How Dietitians Navigate Their Own Recovery

canstockphoto0951598If you’ve gone through cancer treatment, perhaps you worked with a Registered Dietitian (RD) and an exercise specialist for exercise and general eating concerns. Healthful eating, along with being physically active, during treatment can help you keep up your energy level and recover more quickly.

However, side effects like fatigue, nausea and changes in taste can make those healthy habits challenging.

Although RDs don’t need personal experience with cancer treatment to help patients, as we marked Cancer Survivor Day on June 2, I wondered how RDs managed their own cancer treatment. What advice did they follow and what worked well for them?

I asked three RDs to share how they managed eating and physical activity through their own cancer treatment and recovery. Here are their words of wisdom: Continue reading


Study: Men with Prostate Cancer May Survive Longer with Vegetable Fats

canstockphoto13663884For the approximately 2.5 million men living with prostate cancer, a new study published in JAMA Internal Medicine suggests that eating nuts and other foods high in vegetable oils may play a role in lengthening their lives.

Compared to men with prostate cancer who ate the least amount of vegetable fats, the men who ate the most had a lower risk of dying during the study from cancer or any other cause. Study analysis also concluded that men with the disease may lower their risk of dying by replacing calories from carbohydrates and animal fats with vegetable fats.

The study included 4,577 men diagnosed with nonmetastatic prostate cancer between 1986 and 2010. Every four years the men reported their typical diet during the previous year, answering questions on fried food consumption and what type of fat they used to cook. The study focused on mortality related to consumption of different types of fats: saturated, polyunsaturated, trans, animal, and vegetable fats.

After a median of almost 8 and a half years, 1,064 of the men had died. Most of the men – almost a third –died from heart disease. Another 21 percent died from prostate cancer specifically and another 20 percent from other cancers. Continue reading


New Analysis: Lifting Weights Helps Survivors

Dumbbell-SP005620_7_300wWhen you read about the health benefits of exercise for cancer survivors it’s common to lump all exercise together. After all, there’s no bad form of exercise.

A new review of the research now suggests that lifting weights, sit-ups and other forms of resistance exercises can help survivors both during and after treatment gain muscle strength, reduce body fat, and improve fatigue.

The improved effects seen with arm strength and body fat were most pronounced in survivors who engaged in low to moderate intensity exercises compared to those of higher intensity.

Doing resistance exercises at least two times per week led to survivors able to increase the amount of weight lifted, on average, 34 pounds (15.5 kilograms) for legs and 16 pounds (7.3 kilograms) for arms.

The study was published in the early online issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. Continue reading