There are now over 3 million US breast cancer survivors, with the number of survivors only expected to increase in the years ahead. Today, a new report identified potential links oxn how diet, activity, and weight may affect survival for women diagnosed with breast cancer.
Diet, Nutrition, Physical Activity and Breast Cancer Survivors is part of an ongoing, systematic review called the Continuous Update Project (CUP). It’s the most rigorous analysis of the research on diet, weight and physical activity for breast cancer survivors, and it’s the first time a CUP report has focused on survivorship.
Here, Anne McTiernan, MD, PhD, the panel lead of this CUP report and researcher at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, talks about the report’s findings and what it means.
Q: What did the CUP report look at?
A: The report looked at associations between specific diet patterns and components, weight, and physical activity with mortality from all causes, mortality from breast cancer, and incidence of secondary breast cancer. This report did not look at associations of diet, physical activity, or weight with quality of life, fatigue and many other issues in which lifestyle factors may play a role. Read more… “Talking about Diet, Nutrition, Physical Activity and Breast Cancer Survivors”
Like most American women (and men), most breast cancer survivors may also not be exercising enough to reap its many health benefits, suggests a new study. Yet it’s African American survivors who are even less likely to meet the activity recommendations compared to white women.
The study was published today in Cancer. It’s important because a lot of research has linked regular physical activity among survivors to to better health and longer lives.
AICR recommends that survivors follow the same activity recommendations as for prevention. Here’s a few examples of studies that have found how activity benefits survivors.
In this study, about 1,700 women diagnosed with breast cancer reported their activity habits both before their diagnosis and six months afterwards. The women ranged in age from 20 to 74, and about half were African American. Researchers converted the women’s activity habits into a common unit of measure: metabolic equivalent hours (METs).
I recently came back from a symposium of registered dietitians who specialize in cancer and nutrition, where there was a lot of exciting research presented on cancer survivorship.
Some presentations were highly technical – covering interactions of particular chemotherapy drugs with nutrition and updated tips for use of feeding tubes and pancreatic enzymes, for example. Take-home nuggets of broader interest include:
– Effects of weight loss in breast cancer survivors: Overweight and obese breast cancer survivors who lost weight through moderate changes in eating choices combined with regular physical activity lowered levels of insulin and estrogens, both of which can promote cancer development. Cheryl Rock, PhD, RD, showed evidence suggesting even five percent weight loss (about eight pounds for a 160-pound woman) may be enough to improve outcome. (Here’s a webinar that Dr. Rock and I presented on Diet and Physical Activity in Cancer Prevention and Survivorship.)