“Men on hormone therapy for prostate cancer may benefit significantly from hitting the gym with fellow patients and choosing more veggies and fewer cheeseburgers, a new study suggests.
“Androgen deprivation therapy is a powerful tool against prostate cancer, and more and more men are opting for the treatment as a growing array of hormone-based therapies become available.
“But it comes with a cost. Suppressing male hormones, including testosterone, that fuel cancer growth also means that patients lose strength and muscle mass and gain fat. And that puts the men at risk for other health problems, including heart disease and diabetes.”
“While regular exercise is recommended as part of a heart-healthy lifestyle for any person, it also appears to help mitigate the increased cardiovascular risk faced by women treated for breast cancer, according to a study scheduled for presentation at the American College of Cardiology’s 66th Annual Scientific Session.
“The study found that women with breast cancer who engaged in the equivalent of five hours of moderate exercise per week before their diagnosis were 40 percent less likely to have a cardiovascular event and 60 percent less likely to die from coronary heart disease compared to those with a low pre-diagnosis level of exercise. Researchers said this study is the first to examine the long-term impact of exercise before a cancer diagnosis and the cardiovascular benefits of exercise across all types of cancer treatments.”
“Exercise does not appear to have any effect on the development of lymphedema in breast cancer patients, according to findings presented here at the Cancer Survivorship Symposium (CSS) Advancing Care and Research.
“Rates of lymphedema were almost the same for women randomly allocated to receive education only and for women allocated to receive education plus personalized exercise instruction from a physical therapist.
“At 18 months, there was no difference in the incidence of lymphedema. The lymphedema free rate was 58% in the education-only arm vs 55% in education-plus-exercise group.”
“More than 100 studies have found that physical activity can lower breast cancer risk; the most active women tend to have a 25% lower chance of developing the disease than the least active women. But how does exercise help?
“Christine Friedenreich, scientific leader of cancer epidemiology and prevention research at Alberta Health Services, and her colleagues had identified body fat as a possible pathway to lowering cancer risk. In an earlier study, they found that women exercising 225 minutes a week showed dramatic drops in total body fat, abdominal fat and other adiposity measures.
“That inspired the team to examine more closely the effects of the commonly recommended 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise a week on body fat measures. They compared these effects to a doubling of that amount of activity, to 300 minutes a week, to see if more exercise had a greater effect in lowering body fat.”
“Cancer patients might feel their best if they simply maintain or only slightly increase their physical activity throughout chemotherapy instead of letting it decline, according to a University of Rochester scientist who presented data at the largest meeting of oncologists in the United States.
“Karen M. Mustian, Ph.D., M.P.H., spoke of a study showing that a walking program and gentle resistance-band training at home reduced chronic inflammation that’s common among people with cancer receiving chemotherapy. The study’s personalized exercise prescription also significantly reduced cognitive impairment – known as chemo-brain—among the 619 study participants.
” ‘To think that a very simple, low-cost, self-directed exercise prescription can create an anti-inflammatory response similar to a drug and protect against cognitive decline in people with cancer is innovative and very exciting,’ said Mustian, an associate professor in the UR Departments of Surgery and Radiation Oncology, Cancer Control Clinical Research Unit and a Wilmot Cancer Institute researcher.”
“For breast cancer survivors, slowly progressive weight lifting can reduce the incidence of physical function deterioration compared with usual care, according to a study published online May 11 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
“Justin C. Brown and Kathryn H. Schmitz, Ph.D., M.D., from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, conducted a 12-month randomized trial of twice-weekly slowly progressive weight lifting or standard care in 295 nonmetastatic breast cancer survivors. The authors assessed incident deterioration of physical function after 12 months, defined as a ≥10-point decrease in the physical function subscale of the Medical Outcomes Short-Form 36-item questionnaire.
“The researchers found that 16.3 percent of 147 patients in the control group and 8.1 percent of 148 patients in the weight lifting group experienced incident physical function deterioration after 12 months (relative risk, 0.49). There were no serious or unexpected adverse events noted in association with weight lifting.”
“For many cancer survivors, a better quality of life is as close as the nearest pair of sneakers. That’s because a growing body of research, including two recent studies led by Yale Cancer Center, show that exercise is a powerful way for survivors to improve quality of life.
“The studies were presented at the 2015 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Chicago. The first evaluated the effect of the LIVESTRONG at the YMCA program on cancer survivors who participated in twice-weekly, 90 minute exercise sessions for 3 months at local YMCAs. The other study explored whether home-based exercise programs that encouraged brisk walking could improve fatigue and quality of life for ovarian cancer survivors. Both studies showed exercise to be a potent tool for survivors to improve life in many areas.
“The LIVESTRONG at the YMCA study was conducted by Dr. Melinda Irwin, associate professor of Epidemiology in Yale School of Public Health and associate director of population sciences at Yale Cancer Center; and Dr. Jennifer Ligibel of Dana Farber Cancer Institute. It evaluated 186 participants for quality of life, physical activity and fitness. After 12 weeks, participants were shown to experience significant increases in physical activity (71 percent exercising a minimum of 150 minutes/week vs. 26 percent for the control group); and improvements in both overall quality of life and fitness performance (according to a six- minute walk test). The participants had been diagnosed with stages I-IV of cancer and 50 percent had breast cancer. In addition, at the outset of the program, the majority of the participants had been inactive.”
“Carrying extra body fat increases the risk for diabetes, heart disease and stroke, and also increases risk of cancer recurrence after a breast cancer diagnosis. A multi-institutional study presented at the American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting 2015 shows that female breast cancer survivors are able to lose weight through modest lifestyle changes.
” ‘This is a significant finding because it shows that women are able to lose weight after breast cancer treatment and this may lead to reduced risk of recurrence,’ says Tim Byers, MD, MPH, associate director for cancer prevention and control at the University of Colorado Cancer Center, and one of the study’s authors.
” ‘I think these findings show that we should now move forward with a larger study,’ says Byers. ‘If we can prove that intentional weight loss reduces breast cancer recurrence I believe weight control will become a routine part of oncology care.’ “
“For breast and colorectal cancer survivors, the level of exercise participation is significantly increased for those receiving an oncologist’s exercise recommendations with an exercise motivation package, according to a study published online May 12 in Cancer.
“Ji-Hye Park, Ph.D., from Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea, and colleagues recruited 162 survivors of early-stage breast and colorectal cancer who completed primary and adjuvant treatments. Participants were randomized into three groups: control (59 patients); oncologist’s exercise recommendations (53 patients); and oncologist’s exercise recommendations with an exercise motivation package (50 patients). The level of exercise participation and quality of life were assessed at baseline and at four weeks.
“The researchers found that 80.2 percent of the participants completed the trial. Participants who received an oncologist’s exercise recommendation with an exercise motivation package significantly increased their level of exercise participation compared with controls in intention-to-treat analysis (47.57 added minutes per week [P = 0.022] and 4.14 additional Metabolic Equivalent of Task-hours per week [P = 0.004]). No increase in exercise participation level was seen for participants who received only their oncologist’s exercise recommendations. Participants who received an oncologist’s exercise recommendation with an exercise motivation package had significantly improved role functioning.”