Adherence to a Proper Exercise and Diet Plan Can Substantially Improve Survival in Stage III Colon Cancer
By Dr. Sharon Gurm, BSc, ND, Naturopathic Physician, Clinic Founder & Clinical Director
Results of a new study published in JAMA oncology (https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaoncology/article-abstract/2678094?redirect=true) found significant benefit in recurrence-free survival and overall survival in Stage III CRC patients who, from the time of diagnosis, adhered to the American Cancer Society (ACS) Nutrition and Physical Activity Guidelines for Cancer Survivors. There was a 42% lower risk of death during the study period in the patients who followed the guidelines during and after treatment. Patients with the highest adherence to the guidelines had a 9% absolute reduction in risk of death at 5 years compared to patients with low adherence to the program. Those numbers suggest the right diet and exercise program can outperform many of the drugs used to treat cancers! That’s not to say patients should opt to refuse drug therapy over diet and exercise. Remember that these patients in the study group were also undergoing chemotherapy at the same time. There was a significant additional benefit – above and beyond chemotherapy – with the incorporation of a diet and exercise program.
There are also other benefits to a physical activity and nutritional program. Studies have found better quality of life and tolerability of treatments in patients who follow healthy lifestyle and dietary guidelines.
This study builds on the strong body of evidence that a healthy body weight and body composition, along with regular physical activity (150 minutes per week of moderate activity or 75 minutes per week of vigorous activity), a low-glycemic diet rich in vegetables, fruits and minimal alcohol consumption can improve insulin sensitivity, reduce inflammation – in turn, improving cancer-specific outcomes and reducing the risk of death from cancer and other causes.
When starting an exercise program, it’s important to seek expert coaching with an experienced trainer to prevent injury, ensure safety and personalize a program to your level. I refer my patients to the highly qualified trainers at Innovative Fitness: https://www.innovativefitness.com/port-moody-personal-training/
The ACS nutritional and physical activity guidelines can be found here:
For more information on a low-glycemic diet, I suggest Dr. Mark Hyman’s book The Blood Sugar Solution. This book has transformed the lives of many of my patients and their families: http://www.bloodsugarsolution.com/bss/launch/index.html
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