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Commentary examines current guidelines for cancer survivors, suggests future nutrition research

December 12, 2015

The authors discuss current recommendations for cancer survivors, which emphasize achieving and maintaining a healthy weight; encouraging regular physical activity (for adults at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day); eating a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and whole grains; and limiting red and processed meats and alcohol consumption. Further, the current recommendations are that cancer survivors try and obtain their nutrients from foods, rather than supplements since there have been several studies that have linked supplement intake with higher cancer-specific and all-cause mortality among cancer survivors.

Important knowledge gaps that call for further research are identified. Because most cancer patients have one or more comorbid conditions, management of these comorbidities by nutritional interventions may improve quality of life for these individuals. Another area of investigation is whether specific cancers require specific nutritional guidelines.

Finally, the authors recognize that any nutritional intervention must work with the individual patient. Despite efforts by the American Cancer Society and the World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research to encourage cancer survivors to follow diet and lifestyle recommendations for cancer prevention, evidence suggests that few cancer survivors are doing so. Further research is needed to determine the optimal method and timing of interventions to promote healthy lifestyle behaviors among cancer survivors.

Source: Elsevier Health Sciences