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Research Spotlight:
Good News: Cancer Survivors Growing in Numbers

survivor signThere are approximately 13.7 cancer survivors living in the United States today. Thanks to improved diagnostics and treatment, along with our aging population, that number is expected to reach 18 million in 2022, according to a new report from the National Cancer Institute.

The number of people living with a past cancer diagnosis has grown steadily since the early 1970s, when there were approximately 3 million. Both the number of new cancer cases and survivors is estimated to increase in the coming decade. Today, the two largest groups of survivors are those diagnosed with breast and prostate cancer: breast cancer and prostate cancer survivors each account for approximately 20 percent of all the survivors.

Although prevalence is expected to increase among most types of cancer, the largest group of survivors is made up of those who are five or more years from diagnosis. The number of people living with cancer five or more years is expected to increase by about a third, to almost 12 million people.

As the number of survivors increases, it also means that more people than ever will need long-term follow-up care. Further research will address the healthcare costs and needs of these individuals.

Soy Safe for Breast Cancer Survivors

Breast cancer patients and survivors need no longer worry about eating moderate amounts of soy foods, finds a new review of the research from AICR.

The latest update of AICR’s online tool, Foods That Fight Cancer™ (soy), answers one of the most frequently asked questions relating to how diet may affect breast cancer risk.

“Determining whether it is safe for breast cancer survivors to eat soy has been one of the big research questions under study and now we know it is safe – the evidence is so consistent,” said AICR Nutrition Advisor Karen Collins, MS, RD, CDN, an expert on diet and cancer prevention who worked with AICR to examine the research and develop the materials.

For all cancers, human studies show soy foods do not increase risk and in some cases may even lower it, the review finds.

Weight Loss at Work

Workplaces that offer weight-loss programs with educational materials may help overweight employees lose weight – and keep it off, while reducing risk factors for heart disease, suggests a new pilot study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The study included approximately 130 employees at four worksites who signed up to participate in a weight loss program. All the employees were overweight or obese.

Employees at two of the worksites were wait-listed, acting as the control group. At the other two workplaces, employees completed a six-month weight loss program that included 19 lunch-time sessions with a nutritionist. Sessions focused on portion control, fewer calories, high-fiber and low-glycemic diets, while discussing maintaining or increasing physical activity. Participants also received a weekly email.

At the end of six months, these employees lost an average of 17.5 pounds. The employees showed improvements in blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and glucose levels. During that same time, the wait-listed employees at the control sites gained almost two pounds on average.

The intervention employees also kept the weight off during the following six-month maintenance program.

As the authors note, this study shows greater weight loss and benefits than many previous work site weight loss studies. One possible explanation is that these workers were particularly enthusiastic to the idea of losing weight, note the authors.

 

Published on June 3, 2013

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