Following a healthy and targeted diet as well as physical exercise during chemotherapy would be beneficial for women treated for breast cancer.
- Targeted diet and physical activity could improve chemotherapy outcomes in breast cancer patients.
- Although these healthy habits do not lead to a significant increase in chemotherapy follow-up until completion, they seem to have a positive influence on the outcome.
- The two researchers of the study assure that it is never too late to follow healthy behaviors. They prove to be beneficial even if adopted after diagnosis.
While chemotherapy helps fight breast cancer, it is particularly taxing for patients. Besides, some do not follow their full treatment plan due to its many side effects. “Women tell us all the time that they wish they had better tools to help them prevent side effects like fatigue and weight gain.”explains Dr. Tara Sanftlead author and associate professor of medicine at Yale Cancer Center.
“We wanted to see if following a healthy diet and exercising during early-stage breast cancer could lessen the side effects and make it easier for women to follow their chemotherapy.“
And, the answer would be yes, according to the results of his study published in the journal Journal of Clinical OncologySeptember 1, 2023.
Chemotherapy : diet and physical activity play a role in its success
The scientist and her team offered women recently diagnosed with breast cancer targeted consultations giving them recommendations regarding diet and physical activity. Their objectives were to fight against chemotoxicity and improve therapeutic compliance.
Patients who received nutritional and sports advice reported an increase in their physical activity and their consumption of fruits and vegetables. In addition, adopting a lifestyle healthy during chemotherapy appears to have played a role in improving treatment outcomes.
If the relative dose intensity (i.e. the dose taken compared to that prescribed; treatment monitoring indicator) was not significantly higher in this group, these participants showed better results. 53% of them presented a complete pathological response (disappearance of invasive cancer cells in the breast)compared to only 28% of women in the control group.
“There is an exciting possibility that diet and exercise may influence chemotherapy outcomes through factors other than just treatment completion”explain Pr Melinda Irwin who supervised the tests.
Cancer breast: healthy habits can be adopted during treatment
The two researchers believe that their results prove that adopting healthy behaviors, such as a balanced diet and having regular physical activity, can positively influence the results of chemotherapy in women with breast cancer. In addition, this work shows patients can rethink their lifestyle, even if they were not particularly attentive to it before.
“Even at the time of diagnosis”assures Dr Tara Sanft in the press release from its establishment, “It is not too late for oncologists to recommend these healthy behaviors to patients.“