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.)
Evidence is clear that doing at least 150 minutes weekly of moderate physical activity lowers risk for type 2-diabetes. Now, one study shows that even light physical activity may provide some benefit for people at highest risk.
Type 2-diabetes increases risk for several cancers, including those of the liver, colon and endometrium. Both diseases share many risk factors, including insulin resistance.
Can you be obese and healthy — at least metabolically healthy? Probably not, suggests the latest review of the research, which finds even people who are metabolically healthy and obese are at increased risk for an earlier death and risk for cardiovascular disease.
The study — published in the Annals of Internal Medicine — did not look at cancer specifically, but metabolic health is a big topic in cancer risk these days.
Many signs of poor metabolic health are factors for increased cancer risk, as well as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.