Lifestyle Medicine for the Cancer Patient: A Prescription for Every Phase of the Disease
Clinicians often can feel helpless in the face of a patient who is anxious to reduce cancer risk, or reduce risk of recurrence. And this can occur at all phases of the cancer continuum – from prevention, to time of diagnosis, during treatment and through cancer survivorship. However, there is an abundance of evidence, and much patients can do, to reduce their risk.
This session will highlight the role that lifestyle interventions, including the pivotal role that a predominantly plant based diet rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains in combination with physical activity and maintaining a healthy body weight play in reducing cancer risk. The evidenced-based patient-focused recommendations developed by the American Institute for Cancer Research/World Cancer Research Fund (AICR/WCRF) will be brought to life through interactive, real-world clinician-patient scenarios.
AICR/WCRF is at the forefront of synthesizing and interpreting the accumulated global scientific literature on the links between diet, nutrition, physical activity, weight and cancer risk and for the past three decades, and has translated and packaged the science of lifestyle medicine and cancer into approachable and practical tools for patients and clinicians, while providing the most reliable assessment of the strength of the evidence for each factor to lower risk of cancer and improve survival across all phases of the cancer continuum.
Our session will include an interactive dialogue, and will discuss the impact of the best available lifestyle medicine evidence on each stage of the cancer continuum through the lens of both the provider and the patient. We will use interactive scenarios to describe how the recommendations can be used prior to diagnosis (for reducing cancer risk), at the point of diagnosis, during treatment and through survivorship. To do this, we will pose provocative questions commonly asked in clinical practice. For example, when a patient is diagnosed with cancer, they may ask, “What can I do now? What should I eat, how much should I exercise?” Conversely, a cancer-free patient who is overweight, might ask “Why do I need to lose weight to prevent cancer? I know many overweight friends/family who lived to be 90 and never developed cancer?” The session will trace a path along a typical patient journey from pre-diagnostic focus on cancer risk reduction through the phases of diagnosis, treatment and survivorship.
We will provide perspectives from clinical oncologists and radiologists as well as patient advocates who can bring each scenario to life and engage the audience in a meaningful discussion. At each stage, the we will highlight the relevant patient-friendly online resources and tools. This includes the AICR/WCRF online quizzes, the New American Plate Challenge, and the iTHRIVE program for cancer survivors. The goal is for audience members to leave with a full appreciation of the strengths and limitations of the available evidence, the research underpinning the evidence-based cancer prevention and survivorship recommendations, and be equipped with additional creative strategies for integrating and implementing the AICR/WCRF recommendations. We will further equip the audience to engage with patients and offer personalized cancer-protective lifestyle prescriptions that are feasible for their patients to adopt and to sustain evidence-based cancer-protective habits.