Running is a process – and a powerful one, says Scott Spitz, a cancer survivor who is currently featured on the cover of this month’s Runner’s World. A competitive runner, Scott continues to run through treatment for a rare form of abdominal cancer. We talked with Scott about why he runs and how running has helped him grapple with the physical and mental challenges of treatment.
Congratulations on winning the Runner’s World Cover Contest. Why did you decide to enter?
I was a little reluctant to enter because I didn’t want to assume my story was better than others, but I’ve heard from a lot of people who said they gained something from hearing about my experience. I’ve never won anything like this before, and I was humbled and flattered that they recognized the power of my story.
What drew you to running and why have you stuck with it?
I discovered really young that I enjoyed running and had a talent for it. I ran competitively in middle and high school, but then I didn’t run for 13 years after that. I was living in a small town and wanted a physical outlet, so I went for a run and all the experiences came rushing back. I started running regularly again and never stopped. I can cite all the health benefits of running, but ultimately I run because it gives me a sense of accomplishment that has added immeasurable value to my life. Continue reading
Among the many side effects of cancer treatment, muscle loss is one that can make daily tasks such as lifting groceries and running errands become challenging.
Now an analysis of the research suggests that survivors who lift weights and do other resistance exercises improve both arm and leg muscles. And for the strongest arms, resistance training at a low to moderate intensity works the best.
The review was published last week in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.
The new study looking only at randomized controlled trials — considered the gold standard of studies — included studies on resistance training among cancer patients and survivors. The researchers ended up with 11 relevant studies that included almost 1200 people. Each comparing a resistance training group against a comparison. The majority of studies worked with breast and prostate patients and survivors.
Participants had conducted resistance training exercises from 3 months up to a year. Most involved two training sessions a week. Continue reading
Research is clear that obesity increases the risk of developing breast cancer. Now, a large study suggests that women who are overweight or obese when they are diagnosed with the most common form of breast cancer have the greatest risk of an earlier death and recurrence, even when undergoing optimal treatment.
The study was published early online in the journal CANCER. Here’s the abstract.
The link was seen among women who had hormone-receptor positive breast cancer, which make up about two-thirds of breast cancers.
In all, the study included almost 7,000 women who went through treatment. The researchers pulled data from three National Cancer Institute trials that were studying the effects of chemotherapy, tamoxifen and/or other treatments on women with breast cancer. Their breast cancers ranged from the early stage to the later stage III, where the cancer could have spread to nearby lymph nodes.
The largest of the three trials tracked the women’s health for an average of 8 years; the other two followed the women for 14 years. Continue reading