November 30, 2023


Optimize Your Results

Expert Highlights Positive Impact of Lifestyle Factors on Cancer Outcomes/QOL

Amy Commander, MD

Massachusetts Normal Hospital

Managing cancer needs to go further than therapy and incorporate authorities these types of as oncology-concentrated registered dietitians, psychologists, and sophisticated exercise vendors. These persons can aid to take care of indicators and connect patients with means to inspire constructive way of living decisions and strengthen top quality of daily life, in accordance to Amy Comander, MD.

Comander defined that components these kinds of as training can support with managing prevalent adverse consequences these kinds of as fatigue but, importantly, direction is wanted to aid people discover the ideal spot to get started this could suggest even getting a walk all over the home.

“It’s crucial for oncologists and other customers of the treatment team to counsel patients about the significant benefits of getting lively for the duration of cure,” Comander defined. “We absolutely want much more assets to enable our patients grow to be a lot more energetic as they are going via most cancers treatment method.”

In an job interview with CancerNetwork®, Comander, the professional medical director of Mass Normal Cancer Centre-Waltham, director of the Breast Oncology Software at Newton-Wellesley Hospital, and director of Life-style Medication at Massachusetts Normal Healthcare facility, comprehensive how diet program and the intestine microbiome could likely affect outcomes from immunotherapy, and how multidisciplinary care teams to collaborate and guidance patients’ life style endeavours.

How do lifestyle selections perform a position in patient high quality of existence?

We know from information that way of life components perform an progressively essential function in aiding our people boost their quality of lifestyle following a cancer analysis. Certainly, this is correct all through treatment and past. For example, cancer-associated exhaustion is the most typical dilemma that many of our patients complain about every single working day in clinic. Curiously, an intervention these kinds of as bodily exercise has been shown to drastically strengthen signs and symptoms connected to most cancers exhaustion.

We know that all our clients are commencing in a distinct area, and for some that may indicate having out of bed and strolling all around the residing space a handful of times, but we do know that getting active is a really significant device for our individuals to combat cancer-relevant tiredness.

What are some unique alternatives physicians can advise sufferers do to make improvements to their good quality of lifestyle?

We know that notice to several way of life adjustments can considerably strengthen a patient’s good quality of lifestyle and knowledge equally all through cancer procedure and outside of. For case in point, bodily exercise is now incorporated into the ASCO [American Society of Clinical Oncology] pointers.1 We know that people who are capable to be physically energetic throughout treatment tolerate their solutions improved, are fewer probable to demand dose reductions or interruptions of treatment, and certainly, in general experience much better during the study course of treatment method.

Could you explain the function diet plays through treatment method?

There are a lot of scientific studies now focusing on the value of diet regime. For patients undergoing specific forms of procedure, eating plan does perform a vital function and most likely might impact a patient’s response to therapy. For instance, there is function now in the field of immunotherapy showing that patients may possibly react much better to these solutions dependent on alterations in their gut microbiome. [In terms of] what results in these variations, it is associated to diet regime. We’re heading to see escalating exploration centered on the worth of food plan, alongside with normal therapies and immunotherapy for our patients with cancer.

From a multidisciplinary treatment standpoint, how can a patient’s treatment crew get the job done to help these positive way of life choices?

Caring for patients with cancer requires a committed team and our individuals significantly gain from this multidisciplinary approach. As an oncologist, I like to convey to my clients about all the crucial points they should really be carrying out, whether that is transforming their diet, adopting extra of a actual physical activity plan, or improving their snooze behavior. If I have colleagues who have expertise in these locations who can supply dedicated 1:1 counseling about these behaviors or patients derive such rewards.

It really is fantastic to perform with a group that may include things like a actual physical therapist, a psychologist, a registered dietitian with know-how in oncology, a psychologist, a social worker, and unquestionably our advanced observe supplier colleagues. All these men and women and quite a few far more than I’m most likely not mentioning, are integral to the crew for giving suitable whole-individual treatment for men and women experiencing a analysis of most cancers.

Are there any methods that treatment groups really should present to individuals with most cancers or their caregivers?

There are a lot of great sources out there for our clients to locate a lot more facts about, for instance, how to include additional physical action into their program, and what kinds of nourishment guidance are out there. We know there is a large amount of misinformation on the internet, consequently it’s essential that we offer our patients with proof-dependent sources. When it comes to physical activity, one web page I usually refer [patients] to is a portion of the American Faculty of Sporting activities Medication web page, which has a portion termed the Going Through Cancer Initiative.2

There are some terrific figures there that present some concrete assistance about what the workout tips need to incorporate for an particular person going by way of most cancers treatment method. When it will come to diet, we know there’s all types of facts [including misinformation] out there, and we do have to be careful. I often refer my clients to the American Institute of Most cancers Investigation site, which has tons of evidence-based mostly facts about the function of eating plan, physical action, and other behaviors for people with cancer people. There are some good recipes there, as nicely.

Do you have any parting parts of advice for your oncology colleagues?

We know that our patients with cancer are facing so lots of issues as they undertake remedy, and we want to support our patients the finest way we quite possibly can. In addition to recommending the regular remedies, it is incredibly significant that as oncologists we counsel our people about the other crucial features of their care, specifically life style factors that can surely boost their health and very well-staying and in the long run results from cancer. This consists of a number of regions this kind of as bodily exercise, nutrition, very good snooze behaviors, social relationship, and keeping away from the use of risky substances such as alcohol, that are important for our clients.

The adjustments our patients go through are incredibly tough. Thus, I would also stimulate our oncology colleagues to feel of ways to help our clients find aid when they’re hoping to embark on these improvements. Probably the community YMCA has a Livestrong system, it’s possible you will find a local help team that can help men and women meet up with for a walk on a Saturday to get some exercise with each other. This social connection piece is quite important for our clients who are going by means of most cancers remedy.


  1. Ligibel J, Bohlke K, May possibly AM, et al. Exercising, eating plan, and body weight management during cancer procedure: ASCO Guideline. J Clin Oncol. 202240(22):2491-2507. doi:10.1200/JCO.22.00687
  2. Transferring Via Cancer. American College or university of Sporting activities Drugs. 2021. Accessed April 14, 2023. https://little