The main question: Do lifestyle interventions (weight loss and physical function) have a beneficial impact on older, sicker cancer survivors?
Researchers understand that cancer is most often a disease of aging, and frequently, a disease for which obesity is actually a high risk factor. As a result, many cancer survivors are older, overweight or obese, with higher risk of illness and comorbidities. The following study examined how overweight long-term survivors’ symptom severity prior to a diet and exercise intervention is associated with post-intervention function. The study also looked to determine symptoms’ effects on function through change in physical activity, diet quality and weight status.
The study included 514 breast, prostate and colorectal cancer survivors. They participated in the one-year home-based diet and exercise intervention program. Researchers looked at both pre-intervention and post-intervention data including: pre-intervention symptoms, changes in weight, physical activity, diet quality and post-intervention overall physical health. Finally, researched looked at advanced lower extremity function.
The results showed that weight loss and increased physical activity were significantly associated with higher physical function and advanced lower extremity function. Ultimately, symptom severity of older, overweight cancer survivors negatively affects physical function. However, greater weight loss and increased physical activity lead to higher physical function scores. The study highlights the importance of weight loss as a factor in maintaining function in older cancer survivors.
Original article: AACR
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