Breast cancer recurrence may be prevented by adopting a healthy lifestyle
Patients at a high risk of breast cancer recurrence can take measures to reduce their risk.
New studies reveal that these people can greatly reduce their risk of cancer recurrence by adopting the same healthy lifestyle habits advocated by leading cancer groups.
According to the study’s findings, patients who followed cancer prevention guidelines before, during, and after chemotherapy had a 37% reduced chance of recurring disease and a 58% lower risk of premature death.
Author Rikki Cannioto exclaimed, “We were very excited to learn that strongest collective adherence to these lifestyle recommendations, before, during, and after treatment was associated with significant reductions in breast cancer recurrence”. She is an epidemiologist at the Buffalo, New York-based Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.
In order to find out what effect dietary supplements have on cancer outcomes in early-stage, high-risk breast cancer, researchers from 11 medical facilities used information from a previous study.
Researchers in the most recent study used a point system to evaluate patients’ persistence with seven different healthy habits. These are measures that individuals may take voluntarily to improve their health.
Among these were engaging in regular exercise, eating a diet rich in colorful produce and whole grains, and keeping a steady weight. Not smoking, reducing or eliminating sugary drinks, red and processed meats, and fatty foods were among others.
Both the American Cancer Society and the American Institute for Cancer Research advise taking such measures to reduce one’s risk of developing cancer.
Cannioto pointed out that all of these behaviors are associated with an increased chance of developing cancer, but it was unclear whether or not they also affected survival rates for people at high risk.
Patients with more severe forms of breast cancer were not immune to the effects of these decisions, the latest study revealed. Researchers discovered that physical activity and quitting smoking were the most important factors in a successful outcome.
According to them, it is unclear how exactly these behaviors prevent cancer from returning.
Cannioto reassured patients, nonetheless, that even minimal adherence makes a difference.
Better patient-reported outcomes, emotions of well-being, and enhanced sleep are just a few of the potential routes that could be contributing to this possible improvement in survival. “I’m sure there are a number of factors at play,” Cannioto remarked. It’s possible that “some biological mechanisms” are at work behind these correlations.
A total of 1,340 participants were included in the analysis, with a median age of 51. Approximately two-thirds of the breast cancers were positive for hormone receptors. Far beyond eighty percent were of Caucasian race.
The study’s authors noted that they wanted to learn more about the effects of these behaviors on a wider range of patients and tumor types.
“Of course, the next step that piques our interest is intervention: Can we improve survival outcomes in our patient population through lifestyle intervention?” Cannioto said, adding that scientists are also interested in figuring out how this operates.
Dr. Arif Kamal, the American Cancer Society’s chief patient officer, has emphasized that the importance of adopting healthier habits is often overlooked.
In response to patients’ requests for advice, doctors frequently emphasize the need of continuing to take prescribed medications and undergo any necessary tests or lab work.
We need to shift our message from “here’s what you can do to get healthcare” to “here’s what you can do in your daily life,” as Kamal put it. The next step forward, I believe, is to recognize the significance of both of these points.
He pointed out that several of the healthy living suggestions are made more difficult by cancer treatment. An individual may put on weight because of treatment-related factors, such as receiving fluids and steroids.
Kamal emphasized that this does not mean people should put undue strain on themselves by engaging in strenuous physical activity every day.
“It’s not all or none. It’s really a composite risk that happens over time,” he explained. “These are about how you live, not how you treat a specific week or month.”