Nutrition and Physical Activity for Cancer Survivors
In Australia the number of cancer survivors has been estimated at more than 267,000 and is increasing as our population ages. Cancer survivors may be at increased risk of other health problems, including heart disease, diabetes and functional impairment, which could be reduced through lifestyle interventions.
On the basis of the available evidence, The Cancer Council Australia supports the adoption of a long-term healthy lifestyle following cancer treatment, to improve quality of life and reduce the risk of cancer recurrence.
The Cancer Council Australia recommends cancer survivors:
- Maintain a healthy body weight, with a body mass index between 18.5 and 25
- Be physically active - aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate activity daily
- Eat more vegetables and fruit - aim for two serves of fruit and five serves of vegetables a day
- Limit or avoid alcohol - no more than two standard drinks a day for men and no more than one standard drink a day for women
- Handle and prepare food safely.
Most of these recommendations are consistent with evidence-based advice on reducing the risk of cancer and with national dietary recommendations to promote general health. They should be considered in the context of a cancer survivors individual health and social circumstances.
Such lifestyle interventions are showing the potential to improve the health and wellbeing of cancer survivors, in particular women with breast cancer. Further research is required to determine the efficacy and effectiveness of specific lifestyle interventions designed for breast cancer survivors and survivors of other cancers.