Inactivity, obesity detrimental to cancer survivors

April 21st, 2008 - 5:26 pm ICT by admin  

Washington, April 21 (IANS) Many cancer survivors are inactive and obese, which may negate attempts to control their disease, according to a study. These findings show that a cancer diagnosis does not prompt significant change, though the condition does warrant increased physical activity and better eating habits.

Obesity and physical inactivity are known to be detrimental to health. In cancer patients, studies have linked these factors to negative outcomes, including disease recurrence, cancer-specific death and reduced quality of life.

The study undertaken by Kerry S. Courneya of University of Alberta (Canada), one of the very few to address this question, analysed data from the 2005 Canadian Community Health Survey involving interviews with more than 114,000 adults.

The study revealed that fewer than 22 percent of Canadian cancer survivors were physically active, with the lowest rates reported by male and female colorectal cancer survivors, female melanoma survivors and breast cancer survivors.

Also, nearly one in five of survivors was obese, and one in three was overweight with little variation among the cancer survivor groups.

The authors concluded that Canadian cancer survivors have low levels of physical activity and a high prevalence of obesity that are comparable to the general population.

However, prostate cancer survivors were more likely to be active and less likely to be obese than men without a history of cancer, and male skin cancer survivors were more likely to be active than their disease-free counterparts.

Studies suggest that obese breast cancer survivors may particularly benefit from higher physical activity levels in terms of preventing disease recurrence and improving the quality of life.

The study will appear in the June 1 issue of CANCER, a journal of the American Cancer Society.

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