New guidelines state nutrition and exercise can reduce recurrence

LENA HUANG
PUBLISHED: APRIL 27, 2012
Talk about this article with other patients, caregivers, and advocates in the General Discussions CURE discussion group.
The American Cancer Society released new guidelines that recommend good nutrition and exercise for survivors to reduce the chance of recurrence and increase the possibility of disease-free survival. The ACS formulated these recommendations after convening a group of researchers and thought leaders in nutrition, exercise and cancer survivorship to evaluate current evidence and best practices on these topics. Among the committee's recommendations:

? Minimizing weight gain during treatment may be important for survivors who are overweight and also for those of normal weight.

? Evidence suggests that exercise is not only safe during cancer treatment but can also improve physical functioning, quality of life, fatigue and may even increase the rate of completion of chemotherapy.

? Exercise after cancer diagnosis is associated with a reduced risk of recurrence and improved mortality in many cancer survivor groups, including breast, colorectal, ovarian and prostate.

? Results of observational studies suggest diet and nutrition may affect risk of recurrence, cancer progression and overall survival in those treated for cancer.

This report also specifies nutrition and exercise advice by cancer types including breast, colorectal, endometrial, ovarian, lung, prostate, head and neck, and hematologic cancers. It also includes a helpful section on common questions and answers about nutrition, exercise and cancer survivorship.

Some questions covered are:

? Should alcohol be avoided during treatment? (Generally yes, or kept to a minimum, based on type and stage of disease.)

? Are organic foods recommended for cancer survivors? (At present it is not known if organic foods are more effective in reducing recurrence than foods produced by other farming methods.)

? Does sugar feed cancer? (No, however products high in added sugar may add substantial calories, resulting in weight gain, which may affect cancer outcomes.)

? Can dietary supplements reduce the risk of recurrence? (No evidence at this time suggests supplements will reduce the chances of recurrence.)

? Should I exercise during cancer treatment? (Evidence suggests that exercise is safe and can improve physical functioning and quality of life, however, intensity and duration may need to be adjusted during treatment and special precautions taken for those with anemia, weak immunity, bone disease, skin sensitivity, neuropathy and other side effects of therapy.)

"While we've published previous reports outlining the evidence on the impact of nutrition and physical activity on cancer recurrence and survival, this is the first time the evidence has been strong enough to release formal guidelines for survivorship, as we've done for cancer prevention. Living a physically active lifestyle and eating a healthy diet should absolutely be top of mind for anyone who's been diagnosed with cancer," Colleen Doyle, MS, RD, ACS director of nutrition and physical activity and co-author of the guidelines, said in a press release.

To read the full report, click here.

Talk about this article with other patients, caregivers, and advocates in the General Discussions CURE discussion group.
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