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Erin Palinski, RD, CDE, LDN Reduced Risk
Studies show that physical activity everyday can reduce the risk of cancer. The study showed that over the course of 20 years, men who exercised were 68% less likely to develop cancer. Also, those who did develop cancer, exercise helped reduce death risk!
(CNN) — Less cancer treatment may be better, and being in good physical shape may help keep cancer away, according to the latest research being presented at the largest convergence of cancer experts worldwide.
The American Society of Clinical Oncology meets at the end of the month in Chicago. A briefing was held Wednesday for journalists covering the meeting. Here are some highlights from studies being presented:
Exercise may keep cancer away
Getting into shape may help you ward off cancer — or boost your survival chances if you are diagnosed, according to a new study.
Researchers from the University of Vermont studied more than 17,000 men for close to 20 years. They found those who exercised the most were 68% less likely to develop lung cancer and 38% less likely to develop colorectal cancers than the least active men.
Among those men who did develop either of those two cancers or prostate cancer, exercise helped reduce the risk of death by 14% for each incremental increase in fitness level.
Boosting your immune system to fight cancer
Among the other six studies highlighted, two looked at new approaches in immunotherapy treatments — drugs that train the immune system to recognize and kill cancer cells.
One study found that a new antibody, known only as MPDL3280A, shrank tumors in 21% of the patients studied, all of whom were suffering from melanoma, lung or kidney cancers.
The drug was well-tolerated at all dose levels by the majority of patients, and reports of serious adverse reactions were infrequent, officials said.
Researchers presented results from the first phase of a clinical trial of MPDL3280A. The purpose of these initial trials is to establish the safety and dosage guidelines for an investigational drug. If it’s found to be safe, as in this case, it must be tested in much bigger trials with many more people. So far, the early results are promising, according to researchers.
The second study found that the combination of two immunotherapy drugs — Yervoy and Nivolumab — can help shrink melanoma tumors.
More than half of study participants saw their tumors shrink by more than half, and nearly a third saw their tumors shrink by 80%, just in the first 12 weeks of treatment, according to the study author.
Before Yervoy received Food and Drug Administration approval two years ago, patients with melanoma — the deadliest form of skin cancer — had no real treatment options. Nivolumab still needs FDA approval.
Researchers have known that at some point, cancer cells figure out how to circumvent Yervoy and tumors start to grow again, but this study suggests that a combination of these drugs can lengthen the benefit of Yervoy.
“After years of not having success in immunotherapy, we now have two (different studies) showing significant progress,” said Dr. Sandra Swain, president of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. “With these two therapies, we’re seeing very rapid, profound and long-lasting tumor shrinkage, which is something that hasn’t been seen before with immunotherapies.”
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