Guidelines for Nutrition & Exercise in Cancer Survivors

In 2001, the American Cancer Society (ACS) first published an article summarizing the relatively small amount of scientific evidence regarding the impact of nutrition and physical activity among cancer survivors. Since that time, new studies have emerged, demonstrating the benefits of maintaining a healthy weight, getting adequate physical activity, and eating a healthy diet. The key benefits include reducing the chance of recurrence and increasing the likelihood of disease-free survival after a diagnosis. Based on this new and accumulating evidence, an expert panel convened by the ACS issued formal guidelines for cancer survivors for the first time in the CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. Encourage Regular Exercise The ACS update recommends that clinicians encourage survivors to participate in regular physical activity. Patients should aim to exercise at moderate intensity at least 150 minutes per week and perform strength training exercises at least 2 days per week. Clinicians need to encourage patients to avoid inactivity and return to normal daily activities as soon as possible following a diagnosis. However, in some cases, particular issues affect the ability of patients who are recovering from cancer treatment to exercise. The guidelines provide information on many of these issues and how these circumstances should be factored into the equation when recommending activities. Weight Management & Diet Among Cancer Survivors Many patients are overweight or obese when they are diagnosed with cancer, and there’s increasing evidence that obesity increases risks for cancer recurrence and reduces survival. Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is another key recommendation in the 2012 guidelines. If cancer survivors are overweight or obese, they should be encouraged to limit...