October is a month designated to health awareness. Not only is it Breast Cancer Awareness
Month, October also celebrates Healthy Lung Month, Liver Awareness Month, and National
Mental Health Day. Our focus this month is on You! Each week we will focus on a different
aspect of prevention to assist you in achieve optimum health through nutrition, exercise and
Currently twelve million Americans are living with a current or past cancer diagnosis. Cancer is the
leading cause of death among women 40-79 years of age, and men 60-79 years of age with the
median age of diagnosis being 65-69 years of age. Cancer diagnosis and persons surviving
cancer are expected to increase in the coming decades, so it important to be aware of what you
can do to prevent becoming a statistic and increase your chance of survival.
What Can I Do to Prevent Cancer?
GET ACTIVE!!!! Thirty Minutes everyday in any way!
Since the 1980’s research has shown that physical activity is an important ingredient for
reducing the risk of certain cancers including breast, colon endometrial, kidney and esophageal
cancers. Though it is not clear why, researchers believe the positive role physical activity plays
on body composition, endogenous sex hormones, metabolic factors, inflammation, insulin
resistance and immune function improve biological function and reduce the onset of cancer cell
What if I Have or Had Cancer?
Twenty years ago it was recommended that cancer patients/survivors lead a relatively sedentary
life in hopes that the body would be better able to conquer the disease. Research now
demonstrates that a properly designed exercise program alleviates many of the side effects of
cancer treatment, improves the overall quality of life, reduces the incidence of comorbidities,
improve psychological health and potentially increases survivorship.
Although each persons goals and needs will be different, exercising during cancer treatment
promotes positive physiological adaptions within the body. Realistic goals may be to maintain
pre-diagnosis levels of cardio fitness, muscular endurance, flexibility and body composition as
well as reduce or alleviate many treatment side effects. Tolerance for exercise is usually
reduced on days of and days following treatment so workouts need to be adjusted accordingly.
Oncologists are recommending that their patients exercise based on clinical evidence of
improved tolerance/adherence to treatment (especially chemotherapy), as it causes a reduction
in treatment side effects and improved quality of life.
Next week we will focus on the role nutrition plays in cancer prevention and throughout