Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Breast Cancer Survivors Benefit From Healthy Lifestyles

by guest blogger Jody Perrecone

The World Cancer Research Fund International released its Continuous Update Project(CUP) in October of 2014. WCRFI gathers scientific research from around the world. An independent panel of scientists evaluate the data and publishes their conclusions in CUP. The CUP report on breast cancer looks at research on diet, weight, and physical activity. It involves 165,416 participants diagnosed with breast cancer and 85 studies. This is the first report that has linked lifestyles with breast cancer survivorship. Here are their conclusions.

  • Maintain a Healthy Body Weight - This may be the best way to reduce the risk of cancer. The study showed a BMI between 18-21 carries the lowest risk of breast cancer. There was a 35% increased risk of mortality for obese women who develop cancer versus those with a normal weight before being diagnosed. Overweight women had a modest increase in risk of an earlier death. Try to maintain weight during cancer treatment and lose extra pounds after treatment. Being underweight may also increase cancer risk.
  • Be Physically Active - Evidence shows being active before diagnosis reduces breast cancer mortality and may protect against post-menopausal breast cancer. 
  • Eat More Fruits and Vegetables - Evidence in the studies show diets including fruits and vegetables are protective against cancer. Those who had the highest fiber consumption, which is found in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, had the lowest mortality rates (32% decreased risk per 10g/day). Women who ate more isoflavones (found in soy) beyond 12 months of being diagnosed had a lower risk of mortality. 
  • Reduce Fat Intake - The report shows a statistically significant increase in breast cancer. For every 10% of total calories coming from fat, there was an 82% increase in breast cancer. There was a 66% increased risk of breast cancer for every 10% of total calories consumed from saturated fat. Meat and dairy products are the main sources of saturated fat.

The science is clear - to reduce breast cancer risk and recurrence, the goal should be to maintain a healthy weight, exercise, eat more whole foods as grown, and reduce intake of all fats.

Jody Perrecone is a corporate manager for the Complete Health Improvement Program (CHIP). CHIP is an international wellness program focusing on lifestyle interventions to create a healthier workforce and reduce overall healthcare costs. Jody works with hospitals, corporations, and communities to offer CHIP programs throughout the U.S.

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