Dr. Thomson describes why nutrition and living a healthy lifestyle is important when preventing cancer recurrence in survivors.
It’s simply related to the fact that when we have a breast cancer diagnosis or really any cancer diagnosis for that matter, diet and lifestyle are something we can modify to change our risk in the long run.
You may not be able to modify your genes, for example, or your body’s response to therapy, for example, but what you can do, in a meaningful way, is change lifestyle habits.
And so, what we know is that women who become more physically active, women who eat a more plant-rich, vegetable-rich diet can affect certain levels of nutrients that may help to reduce the risk of breast cancer.
Nothing is clearly definitive at this time, but certainly we are moving in the direction of understanding that lifestyle change, diet, physical activity, will impact your long-term health.
And I would like to add that much of this may not just be related to the prevention of a recurrence of cancer; it may also be because we are affecting co-morbidities. So a woman who is treated for breast cancer, some of those treatments, including even surgery, can alter, for example, their body composition, increase their amount of body fat, loss of lean mass, etcetera. And those factors can be modified through a healthy lifestyle and perhaps reduce their risk of earlier onset cardiovascular disease or hypertension or metabolic syndrome, and so it’s not just cancer we are talking about preventing in these women long-term.
About Dr. Thomson, Ph.D., R.D.:
Dr. Cynthia Thomson, Ph.D., R.D., is an Associate Professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Arizona. She is a registered dietitian with a doctoral degree in nutritional sciences. She has been conducting cancer research since 1994. Dr. Thomson was diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 2003.