Nutrition Spotlight: News You Can Use! Nutrition, Physical Activity, & Cancer - Part 2 of 4

Virginia Cancer Specialists Practice Blog

March 29, 2022
Virginia Cancer Specialists » VCS Practice News » Nutrition Spotlight » Nutrition Spotlight: News You Can Use! Nutrition, Physical Activity, & Cancer – Part 2 of 4

It’s age-old wisdom that healthy eating and regular physical activity are key to feeling our best. This month, the American Cancer Society (ACS) released a report evaluating the current science of food and activity and the relationship to cancer survivorship. It illuminates just how important healthy eating and regular physical activity are in those who have been diagnosed with cancer and replaces the previous guidelines (issued 10 years ago).

At VCS, we are committed to providing our patients with the benefit of having comprehensive, holistic physical and emotional support provided by a multi-disciplinary team, including registered dietitian nutritionists. This is consistent with the ACS’s recommendation that a nutrition and physical activity assessment and counseling begin as soon as possible after diagnosis and continue, as appropriate, throughout treatment and survivorship.

According to the ACS, the current 5-year cancer survival rate in the US is 68% – which amounts to close to 17 million cancer survivors living in our country. There is growing evidence that a healthy diet and regular physical activity can impact risk of cancer reoccurrence and survival, both in those who are currently undergoing treatment, as well as those who have completed their treatment course.


  • Physical Activity and Cancer Type. Being physically active improves the likelihood of survival in patients who have been diagnosed with breast, colon, and prostate cancers.
  • Excess weight is associated with worse outcomes in patients diagnosed with breast, endometrial, and bladder cancers.
  • The most common eating pattern in the US, referred to as a “Western-style” diet, is associated with worse outcomes among colon, breast, and prostate cancer survivors. This diet is typically high in meat, high-fat dairy products, refined grains, French fries, and sweets/desserts. Instead, ACS recommends eating plenty of fiber and other nutrients from fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, limiting red and processed meats, sugar-sweetened drinks, and getting the right amount of calories for an individual’s needs.
  • Higher consumption of alcohol after being diagnosed with liver, laryngeal, pharyngeal or head and neck cancer is associated with a higher risk of death overall.

Learn More Here: Nutrition for Cancer Patients

By: Shelley Maniscalco, Registered Dietitian

Virginia Cancer Specialists Dietitians