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Only 1 in 20 Cancer Survivors Meet Diet Advice

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Comment: I wonder why, of all the cancer survivors studied in this particular research, lung cancer survivors were not included. Yet, more than once smoking was mentioned in a behavioral context.



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Only 1 in 20 cancer survivors meet diet advice

Most fall far below recommendations for food and fitness, study finds

Just 5 percent of U.S. cancer survivors are meeting experts' recommendations on diet, physical activity and cigarette smoking, a new survey shows.

But the more recommendations a cancer survivor did meet, the better his or her health-related quality of life (HRQoL), Dr. Christopher Blanchard, of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada, and colleagues found.

"It appears that meeting multiple lifestyle recommendations may not only be beneficial from a cancer recurrence/mortality perspective, but also from a HRQoL perspective," they write in the May 1 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

In 2006, the American Cancer Society issued three recommendations on healthy lifestyle behaviors for America's more than 10 million cancer survivors: get at least 150 minutes of moderate-to-strenuous exercise, or an hour of strenuous physical activity every week; eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily; and quit smoking. But research done in the U.S. and Australia has shown that many cancer survivors do not follow these recommendations.

To investigate the percentage of U.S. cancer survivors who followed the recommendations, and see if doing so had a relationship to health-related quality of life, the researchers surveyed 9,105 survivors of six different types of cancer.

Roughly 15 percent to 19 percent were eating at least five servings of fruit and vegetables daily, the researchers found, while 30 percent to 47 percent were getting the recommended amount of exercise. From 83 percent to 92 percent had quit smoking.

Overall, 5 percent were meeting all three requirements, while 12.5 percent were meeting none. Fewer than 10 percent of survivors of any of the six cancer types were meeting two or more recommendations.

Among breast, prostate, colorectal, bladder, uterine and melanoma survivors — all of the cancer types the researchers looked at — health-related quality of life rose steadily with the number of lifestyle recommendations met.

In the general U.S. population, the researchers note, an estimated 49 percent meet physical activity recommendations, 24 percent meet the 5-A-Day requirement, and 79.5 percent do not smoke — the one area where cancer survivors in this study were doing better.

"This suggests that a cancer diagnosis may have greater potential to be a 'teachable moment' across several cancer groups in terms of changing smoking behavior, but it may be less effective in changing physical activity and fruit and vegetable consumption," the researchers say.

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(MSNBC, Reuters, May 16, 2008)


The information contained in these articles may or may not be in agreement with my own opinions. They are not posted as medical advice of any kind.

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Hi, Barb.

I don't know why we bother to be surprised any time lung cancer is left out of the mix.

One of my very recent concerns is that my onc had me stop my vitamin, mineral, herbal supplements when I began Alimta last week. His primary concern was possible adverse effect on chemo of anti-oxidents based on various research studies; but I, on the other hand, credit my diet (and exercise and acupuncture and massage, etc.) with my having had such great quality of life this past year (all things considered).

I went along with him, but then woke up this a.m. with sore throat (my first since 01/07 dx) and elevated (for me) temp so I'm thinking I'm probably going to call him today and tell him I've decided to stick with my own protocol! :lol:

And now I'm off to jump in the hot tub! (aka warm water pool therapy aka 100 reps of 10 exercises).

Have a great day and thanks for posting article.


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Hello Carole,

When Bill was being put on this regimen: carbo/taxol/Avastin, a nurse told us to NOT take any herbal supplements.

OK. I took that seriously (Bill is, sort of, "along for the ride." I don't mean that as a put down. He is not into research, but trusts that I am "somewhat" out there reading and collecting data.

Here's the thing about the nurse's advise to us - on our next visit to our onc - I told him about the herbal thing.

He said (paraphrasing), "What?" "What supplement?" I told him, "No herbals." He replied, "What herbals is he taking?" My reply, "Green tea." He said, "Is that all? How much does he ingest?"

Turns out - he can drink the green tea, and as long as he is not doing over a reasonable amount, our onc will be OK with it.

My take on all of this is that there are no fast rules on all of this. However, we do not want to destroy the effect of the chemo, itself. That would be counterproductive.

As God is my judge, Carole, I do not want to hurt Bill in any way, but it seems to me, after reading for 3+ years, that there are some things that the "cancer powers that be" do NOT really know.


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