Diet, exercise benefit cancer survivors: study
Cancer survivors are being advised that avoiding a relapse could be as simple as maintaining a healthy weight, eating a balanced diet and getting plenty of exercise.
New guidelines from the American Cancer Society suggest that for many cancers, good overall health could reduce the chances of recurrence and increase the likelihood of a disease-free survival after diagnosis.
And while the group has written about the importance of good dietary habits and physical activity before, authors of the latest edition say this is the first time the body of evidence has been strong enough to release formal guidelines on how to increase survival odds.
The last time the report was updated was in 2006.
The new recommendations are published in the Nutrition and Physical Activity Guidelines for Cancer Survivors and include tips such as:
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Physical activity after cancer diagnosis has been associated with a reduced risk of cancer recurrence, reduced risk of breast cancer recurrence, and mortality in breast cancer patients.
- Food choices have also been shown to affect cancer progression, risk of recurrence, and overall survival. For example, a diet high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, poultry and fish is associated with a reduced mortality rate compared with a fatty, caloric diet high in refined grains, processed and red meats, desserts, and high-fat dairy products.
- Cancer survivors should exercise caution when it comes to taking supplements, which have been shown to have adverse effects in certain cancer populations.
Meanwhile, a slew of studies have shown that diet can play a significant role in the onset of cancer. A fatty diet high in red meat consumption, for instance, has been linked to cancers of the colon and prostate, for instance.
The opposite is also true: good dietary choices like fruits, vegetables and whole grains can also help prevent the onset of certain cancers.