JUN 14, 2018 4:12 AM PDT

Fitness Lowers the Risk of Death for Cancer Survivors

It’s no secret that practicing a healthy lifestyle can help you live longer and feel better. Exercise and a nutritious diet are always wise decisions. However, can it negate the higher risk that some people have?

For instance, adults who experienced cancer as a child have an increased risk of death. That’s because cancer, especially some forms of pediatric cancer, is deadly and has a nasty habit of showing back up again, even years after initial treatment. If the disease doesn’t return, there are still lifelong effects from some treatments. Radiation, chemotherapy and other medications can impact overall health for the rest of a patient’s life.

Investigators from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, as well as other hospitals and treatment centers around the US, Canada, and Norway, conducted a study of 15,450 adults who had been diagnosed with pediatric cancer between 1970 and 1999. The participants were enrolled in the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study.

Patients self-reported the amount of exercise they did and how vigorous it was. They used “metabolic task equivalent” hours which measures the intensity of a task as compared to sitting quietly. While any exercise is better than none at all, the study focused on patients who reported vigorous exercise. During the first follow-up in about ten years, there had been 120 deaths from recurrent or primary cancers; however, the rates were lower for patients who exercised.

The numbers at the fifteen-year mark showed the differences in death rates as related to exercise levels. Participants who did not exercise at all had an all-cause mortality rate of 11.7%. Those spent 3 to 6 metabolic equivalent task hours per week had a reduced rate of 8.6% mortality. The best results were in the group of patients who reported 9 to 12 hours of exercise per week. Those patients had a mortality rate of only 7.4%. Interestingly, when the amount of exercise stated was 15 to 21 hours per week, the mortality rate was higher than the 9-12 set, coming in at 8%. The younger a person was when they got their cancer diagnosis, the lower the mortality rate was in those who exercised. Overall, there was a 40% reduction in deaths in patients who were active compared to their study counterparts who were not active.

It’s important to note that the exercise was self-reported by patients. No verification was made and hours of activity in studies like this can sometimes be inaccurate. On the whole, most cancer survivors of any age tend to have better lifestyle habits regarding diet, smoking, and fitness. The researchers wrote, “Our findings indicate that regular vigorous exercise, as well as an increase in exercise, is associated with significant reductions in the risk of mortality in adult survivors of childhood cancer. These findings may be of importance for the large and rapidly growing global population of adult survivors of childhood cancer at substantially higher risk of mortality due to multiple competing risks."

Sources: JAMA Oncology, UPI

About the Author
  • I'm a writer living in the Boston area. My interests include cancer research, cardiology and neuroscience. I want to be part of using the Internet and social media to educate professionals and patients in a collaborative environment.
You May Also Like
DEC 28, 2020
Cell & Molecular Biology
How an Herbal Compound May Fight Pancreatic Cancer
DEC 28, 2020
How an Herbal Compound May Fight Pancreatic Cancer
For centuries, Chinese practitioners have used herbs to treat all kinds of ailments. New research has shown that one of ...
JAN 11, 2021
Immunology
Can Immune cells contribute to Lung Diseases Severity?!
JAN 11, 2021
Can Immune cells contribute to Lung Diseases Severity?!
Macrophages are a type of immune cell that can detect and destruct bacteria, viruses, and harmful materials. They a ...
JAN 19, 2021
Cardiology
Risk of Atrial Fibrillation Raised by Daily Alcoholic Drink
JAN 19, 2021
Risk of Atrial Fibrillation Raised by Daily Alcoholic Drink
Some studies have suggested that moderate alcohol intake is linked to a lower risk of death from heart disease. But that ...
JAN 20, 2021
Genetics & Genomics
Mutations in One Gene Can Lead to Cancer in Different Ways
JAN 20, 2021
Mutations in One Gene Can Lead to Cancer in Different Ways
Cancer and genetics are linked; for example, when a cell's genome accumulates mutations it can begin to divide uncon ...
JAN 25, 2021
Cancer
Combining Radiotherapy and Immunotherapy in Liver Cancer
JAN 25, 2021
Combining Radiotherapy and Immunotherapy in Liver Cancer
The dream of a magic bullet drug plagues the mind of scientists, doctors, and patients. The truth is some diseases are j ...
JAN 26, 2021
Genetics & Genomics
Why Only Some People With a Rare Mutation Get a Heart Condition
JAN 26, 2021
Why Only Some People With a Rare Mutation Get a Heart Condition
Scientists have found a way to explain why a heart condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) can be so differen ...
Loading Comments...