American Cancer Society Issues Diet and Exercise Guidelines for Cancer Survivors

Yesterday the American Cancer Society (ACS) published formal guidelines for cancer survivors focusing on the health benefits of maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, and eating a healthy diet.

The “Nutrition and Physical Activity Guidelines for Cancer Survivors” are based on data from over 100 studies released since 2006. The ACS says that there is strong evidence that a healthy diet and exercise may prevent cancer from coming back. The guidelines,  published online in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, urge physicians to talk to their patients about these issues.

They key recommendations are:

  • Get regular aerobic and resistance exercise
  • Eat a diet low in red meat and saturated fats, and high in fruits, vegetables and whole grains
  • Use other weight-management strategies, such as portion control, to reach and maintain a healthy weight

Click here to read the complete published guidelines. Click here to read a a news article summarizing the guidelines.


Consumption of Cruciferous Vegetables May Have Positive Impact on Breast Cancer Survival

According to the results of a recent study, the consumption of cruciferous vegetables might have a positive impact on survival in breast cancer patients. Cruciferous vegetables are members of the cabbage family; examples include–in addition to cabbage–broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, and bok choy.

The Shanghai Breast Cancer Survival Study, a large population-based prospective cohort study of Chinese breast cancer survivors, showed that eating cruciferous vegetables after a diagnosis of breast cancer was associated with improved survival in a population of Chinese women. The results were presented recently at the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting.

The researchers found that after adjustment for confounders such as demographics, clinical characteristics, and lifestyle factors, cruciferous vegetable intake during the first 36 months after diagnosis was associated with a reduced risk for total mortality, breast-cancer-specific mortality, and recurrence. Across increasing quartiles of cruciferous vegetable consumption, the risk for total mortality decreased by 27% (to 62%), the risk for breast-cancer-specific mortality decreased by 22% (to 62%), and the risk for recurrence decreased by 21% (to 35%).

However, researchers cautioned that differences in the populations need to be taken into account when trying to extrapolate these results to other settings. Commonly consumed cruciferous vegetables in China include turnip, Chinese cabbage/bok choy, and greens, whereas broccoli and brussels sprouts are the most commonly consumed cruciferous vegetables in the United States and other Western countries. Also, the intake of these vegetables is much higher among Chinese women than that of American women.

The researchers suggest that breast cancer survivors in the United States follow the general nutrition guidelines of eating vegetables daily, and consider increasing their intake of cruciferous vegetables, such as cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli, as part of a healthy diet.

Click here to read the study press release.