My guess is that everyone knows either a family, friend or has a family member or friend that knows someone who has had/has cancer.  My father developed cancer over a decade ago and was able to survive even through a reoccurrence, so naturally this topic resonates with me.  According to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) over 1.4 million cases of cancer were reported in 2007 (1).  This number includes all forms of cancer across all nationalities and includes males and females.  Unfortunately, the bad news is that not everyone that develops a form/type of cancer survives.  Over 560,000 deaths were reported from all types of cancer in 2007 (1).  However, there is great news for those who survive their bouts with cancer!

Research suggests that including exercise and modifying your diet can enhance quality of life and even extend the life of cancer survivors (2).  “Living a physically active lifestyle and eating a healthy diet should absolutely be top of mind for anyone who’s been diagnosed with cancer,” Colleen Doyle (American Cancer Society) said in a statement.


Here are the keys put forth from the American Cancer Society for exercise and diet.


1) Do you want to live and eat pink slime?   I didn’t think so.  They recommend a diet high in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fish and poultry.  Avoid processed foods because “you are what you eat, eats“.


2) Reach for the stars.  Once you become disease free begin setting lifelong goals for physical activity and healthy diet.  Setting goals that are SMART allow you to achieve success.


3) You like to move it, move it.  The evidence for exercising both during and after treatments.  In most cases, exercise can improve function and quality of life.  The exact amounts of exercise should be decided upon with a medical professional and followed up by a health and fitness professional.


4) Obesity strikes again.  The American Cancer Society implies that by managing weight you may reduce the risk of reoccurrence.  How do you manage weight?  See numbers 1 through 3!


5)  When to not exercise in the public arena.  If you have a compromised immune system you should stay away from public pools and gyms until immune system returns to normal.  Also, chlorine filled pools should be avoided by anyone receiving radiation treatment.  


Don’t let cancer slow down your entire life.  Keep a positive mind set.  Focus on relaxation techniques.  You do not have to wait until tomorrow to have your diet and exercise modifications happen.  Always remain positive.


1) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2007).  [Integrative Atlas, Graph Illustration & Table US Cancer Statistics 2007] .  US Cancer Statistics Incidence & Death Rates Access from CDC.  Retrieved from

2) Fiore, K.  (2012).  Exercise, Good Diet Key for Cancer Survivors.  MedPage Today. Retrieved from

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President, Personal Training Manager at Body By Brent LLC