Cancer Survivors: A Growing Population with Evolving Needs

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The number of cancer survivors continues to grow, and is expected to exceed 22.1 million in the United States by 2030, according to a newly published report. As that group expands and includes more people living longer after cancer, we need to expand our way of thinking about survivors’ needs.

Changing Survivorship Concerns
Of today’s cancer survivors, 68% have passed the often-cited mark of five-year survival after diagnosis. In fact, nearly half are more than 10 years out from diagnosis. Cancer survivors can face a variety of additional health issues that vary with the type of cancer and its treatment, age, and health problems that existed or were emerging before cancer diagnosis. The good news is that these challenges are becoming more widely recognized, with whole new branches of oncology care aimed at addressing them.

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Using Exercise to Combat Cancer-Related Fatigue

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June is cancer survivor’s month – an opportune time to talk about new strategies to address a major side effect of many cancer therapies – fatigue. Side effects from cancer can be debilitating but there are strategies to help improve and reduce discomforts. I had the privilege of attending the 2019 AICR Research Conference in Chapel Hill, North Carolina in May. As a certified specialist in oncology nutrition, I appreciate that this conference provides updates on the most current research on nutrition and physical activity for cancer prevention and survivorship. Learning about new research findings allows me to take this enriched knowledge back to the people in the clinic who are seeking information to help them through cancer treatment.

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How Many Cancers Can be Prevented by Improving Diet?

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A recently published study suggests that over 80,000 cancer cases are caused by poor diet alone (independent of obesity, inactivity and other contributing risk factors) in the United States every year.
Dr. Fang Fang Zhang, a cancer and nutrition researcher at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, set out to estimate the cancer burden associated with poor diet. Dr. Zhang, and her team relied heavily on the best available estimates of cancer risk associated with each aspects of diet ; these estimates were provided by the Third Expert Report published by the World Cancer Research Fund International (WCRF) and the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR).

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