I am writing to express my strong support for the Cancer Foundation for Life, and the FitSteps for Life program. The program at the Baylor Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center has been strongly endorsed by our patients and physicians alike. Since moving into our new facility in 2011 the program has grown in size and scope. We currently have a research trial in conjunction with FitSteps for Life that incorporates exercise alongside chemotherapy in the treatment of breast cancer.
New evidence for a role for exercise in cancer prevention, treatment and survivorship is constantly being reported. The National Cancer Institute reports that, “Colorectal cancer has been one of the most extensively studied cancers in relation to physical activity, with more than 50 studies examining this association. Many studies in the United States and around the world have consistently found that adults who increase their physical activity, either in intensity, duration, or frequency, can reduce their risk of developing colon cancer by 30 to 40 percent relative to those who are sedentary regardless of body mass index (BMI), with the greatest risk reduction seen among those who are most active.”
Regarding breast cancer they report: “Research indicates that physical activity after a diagnosis of breast cancer may be beneficial in improving quality of life, reducing fatigue and assisting with energy balance. Both reduced physical activity and the side effects of treatment have been linked to weight gain after a breast cancer diagnosis. One study found that women who exercised moderately (the equivalent of walking 3 to 5 hours per week at an average page) after a diagnosis of breast cancer had improved survival rates compared with more sedentary women.”
I strongly endorse expansion of programs throughout Baylor Scott & White Health to benefit an increased number of individuals at risk for; diagnosed with; and post treatment of cancer. The FitSteps for Life program should be supported and expanded to allow more people access to this important anti-cancer modality.
Alan M. Miller, MD, PhD
Baylor University Medical Center
Director, Baylor Charles A Sammons Cancer Center
Chief of Oncology, Baylor Health Care System
Pauline Allen Gill Distinguished Chair in Hematologic Cancer Research
Professor of Internal Medicine, Texas A&M College of Medicine