(Natural News) Even as you undergo cancer treatment, simple things like proper diet and exercise can help increase your levels of successful treatment and recovery. This is according to researchers from the University of Texas MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital, who recently performed a study that was published in an online issue of Pediatrics Research.
According to the researchers, diet and exercise still have strong potential to improve the effectiveness of chemotherapy as well as reduce the risk of late effects in patients with pediatric cancer. This research opens the door to determining how energy balance, which is a combination of an individual’s diet and exercise, can be implemented effectively alongside treatment for managing or treating obesity.
In total, the researchers looked at 67 studies – including 32 clinical trials in pediatric patients – as well as data from different patients diagnosed with different kinds of cancers. Their research included patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, brain tumors, and rhabdomysarcoma. They also highlighted the cellular mechanisms through which energy balance affects tumor growth.
Purpose of the study
According to Joya Chandra, Ph.D., an associate professor of Pediatric Research and the lead author on the study, their aim in conducting the research was to find out what works for the pediatric patients as far as both diet and exercise were concerned. “The purpose of the review was to delineate between obesity reduction as a goal for energy balance interventions versus simply changing diet or adding exercise,” she said. “For example, our review confirmed modifying diet or adding moderate exercise can improve chemotherapy efficacy independent of weight loss.”
What is also confirmed from the research that they conducted is that having a poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle negatively affects a patient’s chances for successful treatment recovery. In fact, the researchers confirm that both of these things lead to obesity. However, the link between tumors in different cancers and how proper diet and exercise can affect them still needs to be analyzed, as the researchers still haven’t fully understood it.
According to Keri Shadler, Ph.D., an assistant professor of Pediatric Research and a co-author on the study, there are many different factors that need to be considered when creating a custom-made exercise program for patients. These include the type of tumor present, the patient’s health status, and the frequency and duration of the exercise being performed. “Exercise during treatment is safe and improves physical fitness in patients,” Shadler said. “We have several clinical trials underway including one testing exercise interventions in bone tumor patients.”
New possibilities in treatment
This research sheds new light on what’s possible while administering treatment to patients with pediatric cancer. Common knowledge dictates that special diet interventions aren’t usually part of such treatment, despite the fact that healthy eating is encouraged while a patient is being treated. That’s doubly true for physical activity; as a matter of fact, physicians are often cautious about suggesting it in a cancer care setting.
For now, the researchers are going to continue running tests, particularly in administering nutrition interventions as well as looking at weight trajectory in all patients. Other aspects of their research look at other things, such as the impact of diet and exercise intervention on the effectiveness of chemotherapy, the long-term risk of toxicity for leukemia, and osteosarcoma. Although it may all seem counter-intuitive, the data from the research clearly suggests that something good can come from diet and exercise even in the midst of cancer treatment.