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Healthy Behaviors Extend Life After Cancer, Experts Say
Date:4/27/2012

By Jenifer Goodwin
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, April 26 (HealthDay News) -- A healthy lifestyle -- including eating right, exercising and maintaining normal weight -- can boost the odds of long-term cancer survival, especially for breast, colorectal or prostate cancer, according to new recommendations from the American Cancer Society.

About one in 25 Americans is a cancer survivor. "Many ask, 'How can I keep the cancer from coming back?' " said Colleen Doyle, the cancer society's director of nutrition and physical activity.

Cancer survivors often are advised to adopt healthy behaviors, including eating lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein; fitting in walking or other aerobic activity most days of the week; and keeping weight within a normal range, Doyle said.

Research has shown that those steps can help prevent cancer, but there was little research showing that a healthy lifestyle could keep cancer from recurring, or could prevent cancer survivors from getting a new type of cancer, she said.

But a review of recent scientific evidence allowed a panel of cancer experts to conclude that such measures help ward off cancer's return.

"The last time we published recommendations for survivors in 2006, we didn't feel there was enough evidence to say clearly that watching your weight, being active and eating a healthy diet can reduce risk of recurrence," said Doyle, a co-author of the guidelines. "Since that time, 100 studies have looked at the impact of weight, diet or a combination of those things, and those studies have clearly formed a foundation for us being able to make these very solid recommendations that adopting a healthy lifestyle is one of the most important things cancer survivors can do for themselves."

The recommendations were published online April 26 in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.

Among the recommendations:

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