A new study by Canadian researchers has revealed that not only are many cancer survivors inactive, some are also obese and this could have a negative affect on the control of their disease.
The findings are the result of a study of cancer survivors in Canada, and has somewhat surprisingly shown that a cancer diagnosis does not appear to prompt significant lifestyle changes.
It appears that interventions which increase physical activity and promote better eating habits among cancer survivors are not warranted even though obesity and physical inactivity are known to be detrimental to health.
Ample research on cancer patients has linked these factors to negative outcomes including disease recurrence, cancer-specific death and reduced quality of life.
Little research has been conducted concerning the prevalence of physical activity and obesity in cancer survivors and to determine this prevalence the researchers analyzed data from the 2005 Canadian Community Health Survey.
They compared data on cancer survivors to that of individuals without a history of cancer, involving more than 114,000 adults.
The survey participants reported their cancer history, height and body weight and leisure time activities.
Dr. Kerry S. Courneya from the University of Alberta in Edmonton and his research team say fewer than 22 percent of Canadian cancer survivors were physically active, with the lowest rates reported by male and female colorectal cancer survivors, female melanoma survivors and breast cancer survivors.
It was also revealed that almost one in five (18 percent) of cancer survivors were obese, and one in three (34 percent) was overweight.
The authors say that Canadian cancer survivors have low levels of physical activity and a high prevalence of obesity that are comparable to the general population and they suggest that lifestyle interventions be implemented to increase physical activity and promote a health body weight among cancer survivors.
The research is published in the June 1, 2008 issue of CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society.