Cancer survivors urged to exercise to prevent return of disease

ATLANTA — A cancer diagnosis often inspires people to exercise and eat healthier. Now the experts say there’s strong evidence that both habits may help prevent the disease from coming back.

New guidelines issued Thursday by the American Cancer Society urge doctors to talk to their cancer patients about eating right, exercising and slimming down if they’re too heavy.

That’s not something most doctors do, said Dr. Omer Kucuk, an Emory University oncologist who has researched the effect of nutrition on prostate cancer. They’re focused on surgery, chemotherapy or other treatments for their patients, he added.

“Usually the last thing on their mind is to talk about diet and exercise,” Kucuk said.

Cancer society officials have long encouraged healthy eating and exercise as a way to prevent certain cancers. They and others have tried to spread that gospel to cancer survivors as well. Indeed, the cancer society has a certification program for fitness professionals who work with cancer survivors.

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