Health Making life better for breast cancer patients

Making life better for breast cancer patients

Maintaining a balanced diet and daily exercise, can be a big boost for women being treated for metastatic breast cancer.

A new study has revealed how the importance of exercise and nutrition can often be overlooked.

Bond University Conjoint Senior Research Dietician Barbara van der Meij noticed that women with breast cancer that had spread to other parts of their body often had poor appetite and lost weight, affecting their quality of life in their final months or years.

So Dr van der Meij launched a body composition and physical function study, examining muscle mass, physical function and quality of life during chemotherapy for metastatic, or stage IV, breast cancer.

Fifteen women were observed for a year, with each undergoing tests throughout their treatment.

“I’m really focused on improving the quality of life of patients with cancer,” Dr van der Meij said.

Only ten per cent of the women were found to be consuming enough dietary protein to maintain muscle mass, while less than than a third met the guidelines for physical activity.

Dr van der Meij said the findings reveal a need to promote exercise and dietary protein during breast cancer treatment.

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