A healthy diet and regular exercise are crucial if you are a long-term cancer survivor, a new American Cancer Society (ACS) guideline emphasizes. Whatsmore, it’s even more crucial for Blacks who often have worse survival rates than other races for many forms of cancer.
“The link to a healthy diet and regular exercise in long-term cancer survival has become even more clear during the last several years,” says Dr. Arif Kamal, chief patient officer at the cancer society. “We encourage all survivors to work with their care team to develop a program tailored to their individual needs, especially if they are experiencing symptoms or side effects that interfere with their ability to eat well or be active.”
The cancer survival rate in the United States is 68%, and there are 16.9 million cancer survivors nationwide.
Inside the new guideline
The 2022 Nutrition and Physical Activity Guideline for Cancer Survivors was developed by a committee of experts who reviewed research findings since the last guideline was issued in 2012. The committee came up with the following advice:
- Avoid obesity and maintain or increase muscle mass through diet and exercise.
- Get regular physical activity, taking into consideration the type of cancer, patient health, types of treatments and symptoms, and side effects.
- Follow a healthy diet that meets nutrient needs and is consistent with recommendations to prevent chronic disease.
- Follow the general diet and exercise advice of the ACS guideline for cancer prevention to reduce the risk of a new cancer.
The guideline was published online March 16 in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.
According to the ACS, physical activity improves the likelihood of survival among patients with several common cancers, including breast, colon and prostate. Obesity is associated with worse outcomes for patients with breast, endometrial and bladder cancer, the ACS notes.
A “Western-style” diet that’s high in meat, high-fat dairy, refined grains, French fries, sweets and desserts is associated with worse