Revised ACS Guidelines for Nutrition, Exercise for Cancer Survivors

Revised ACS Guidelines for Nutrition, Exercise for Cancer Survivors

Tuesday, October 7th 2003

The American Cancer Society (ACS) has published revised guidelines for nutrition and exercise for cancer survivors in the September/October issue of CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. The editorialist praises the guidelines and suggests that both increased physical activity and weight loss have sufficient scientific support to justify full-scale randomized trials.

"As we make gains in treating cancer, more and more Americans will need dependable information in order to make the best choices," coauthor Colleen Doyle, MS, RD, ACS director of nutrition and physical activity, says in a news release. "With information changing so fast, it's even more important to review the evidence on a regular basis."

Based on this review, an expert panel provided specific recommendations for the American population of approximately 9.5 million cancer survivors, two thirds of whom survive more than five years after diagnosis.

These include physical activity to increase appetite and reduce constipation and fatigue, losing excess weight to decrease the risk of cancer recurrence and to improve overall survival, and taking a standard multivitamin and mineral supplement equivalent to 100% of the recommended daily value to meet nutrient needs when survivors cannot maintain a healthy diet.

However, the panel warns that supplements containing high levels of folic acid or antioxidants may be harmful during cancer treatment. Although a vegetarian diet has many health benefits, there is no direct evidence that it can prevent cancer recurrence. Survivors on a vegetarian diet should ensure adequate nutrient intake.

Healthcare providers should give their patients specific recommendations concerning alcohol intake, balancing the positive effect of reducing cardiovascular risk if consumed in moderation against the deleterious effect of increasing the risk of new cancers.

The guidelines also address specific recommendations for breast, colorectal, lung, and prostate cancers. After reviewing many well-known dietary regimens and supplements suggested as alternatives to standard care, the panel concluded that many have little or no evidence to support their use. The authors also note that the guidelines do not imply that nutrition and physical activity are more important than other factors, and that medical interventions may be more important in controlling nausea or fatigue than dietary or exercise interventions.

In an accompanying editorial, Rowan T. Cheblowski, MD, PhD, from the Harbor-UCLA Research and Education Institute, congratulates the panel on a "careful, objective analysis.... These guidelines represent a virtual clearinghouse of information on nutrition and physical activity [and] assemble a powerful and persuasive argument that both increased physical activity and weight loss have sufficient scientific support to justify full-scale randomized clinical trials in specific cancer survivor populations."

Sourced from CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. 2003;53:268-291

Footnote from Ideal Health:

The following supplements are all useful for optimum nutrition:

Age Defence Resveratrol
Clean Lean Protein
Good Green Stuff
Hi Strength Liquid Fish Oil
Ezziac Tea
Immune Boost
Immune Booster for Kids
Family C Powder
Hi Strength Fish Oil
Olive Leaf Complex
Vitamin and Mineral Boost
Winter Guard

Related health information can be found here:


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If you need help or advice, you are welcome to email our naturopathic team with your health question.

Disclaimer: The health information presented here has been written for the New Zealand health consumer. It is of a general nature and is only intended to provide a summary of the subjects covered. The information is not intended to be comprehensive or to provide medical advice to you. While all care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, no responsibility or liability is accepted, and no person should act in reliance on any statement contained in the information provided. All health ailments should be treated by a qualified health professional.



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