Cancer doctors don't focus on lifestyle risks

(Reuters Health) - Cancer specialists only rarely advise patients on lifestyle changes that could improve overall health and possibly also reduce the risk of recurrence, a new survey suggests.

The survey of doctors from a Midwestern health system found that oncologists were far less likely than primary care physicians to offer advice on health promotion strategies, such as weight loss and smoking cessation, researchers reported in the journal Cancer.

With oncologists reticent to offer advice on lifestyle changes, the onus may fall upon patients to bring the topic up and to find ways on their own to address changes, said study coauthor Bonnie Spring, a professor of preventive medicine, psychiatry, psychology and public health and director of the Institute for Public Health and Medicine at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.

Patients need to realize their lifestyle, their weight, their physical activity, their smoking all have a big influence on the likelihood their cancer will recur, Spring said.

“They also impact the likelihood you will develop heart disease,” she tells patients. “Very likely, the drugs you were given to address the cancer may have had a toxic effect on your heart. This is one of the things you can do to help control the risk.”

To investigate oncologist attitudes towards lifestyle counseling, Spring and her colleagues surveyed 91 Northwestern doctors, including 30 primary care physicians, 30 oncologists and 31 physicians in other specialties (urologists, gynecologists and dermatologists) who treat survivors of prostate cancer, breast cancer and melanoma.

Ninety percent of primary care physicians said they recommend lifestyle changes such as weight loss and smoking cessation to at least some cancer survivors. That was true for just 26.7% of oncologists and 9.7% of specialists.

The researchers conducted in-depth interviews with 12 of the oncologists, who cited a number of concerns that drove their decision not to offer lifestyle counseling. Chief among them: they feared patients wouldn’t be able to make lifestyle changes and continue to take their medications properly.

Many believed that cancer control was their primary concern. One stated “We’re so focused on the life-or-death aspect of cancer, everything (else) falls through the cracks.”

Some weren’t convinced by studies showing that lifestyle factors could impact cancer risk. One said “You know, I don’t even know what the impact is . . . I’m skeptical sometimes about some of the data. For many of us, the interpretation of lifestyle data is more nebulous and oftentimes difficult or perceived as very difficult to adhere to the recommendation.”

When oncologists did address lifestyle factors, it was usually because the patient brought the subject up.

While the new study reports on data gathered at one institution, Spring believes similar results would be found across the nation. “I think it’s widespread,” she said.

The new findings are “intriguing,” said Dr. Charles L. Shapiro, director of the Survivorship Program at the Tisch Cancer Institute at Mount Sinai in New York City. “But it’s a very small study. I’d like to see a nationwide study.”

As for the idea that patients won’t take their medications if they are also trying to make lifestyle changes, Shapiro said, “that doesn’t jive with my own experience. My group is well versed in these kinds of things that patients can do for themselves and how successful they are.”

The new study covers “an important topic,” said Elizabeth A. Platz, a professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, Maryland.

“The study is telling us that not all physicians are in the position to educate patients about lifestyle changes and oncologists often don’t have time to do referrals,” Platz said. “That means that oncologists may need other clinical staff to be engaged in those activities.”

Part of the problem, Platz said, is that research linking certain lifestyle factors, such as obesity, to cancer risk may not have been absorbed by oncologists. “We need to make an effort to deal with that,” she said.

SOURCE: bit.ly/2Nyqrgx Cancer, online August 26, 2019.

Cancer doctors don't focus on lifestyle risks

Cancer doctors don't focus on lifestyle risks

Cancer-News

2 months
47 Views
Share
Want to watch this again later?
Sign in to add this video to a playlist. Login
0 0
Up Next Autoplay
Melanoma Rates Decline Found in Younger Population
Melanoma Rates Decline Found in Younger Population
Category: Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia
1 Views
Cancer-News 5 days
Syndax Announces First Patient Dosed in Phase 1/2 AUGMENT-101 Trial of SNDX-5613 for the Treatment of Adults with Relapsed/Refractory Acute Leukemias
Syndax Announces First Patient Dosed in Phase 1/2 AUGMENT-101 Trial of SNDX-5613 for the Treatment of Adults with Relapsed/Refractory Acute Leukemias
Category: Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia
7 Views
Cancer-News 2 weeks
What is PFS2 in Advanced NSCLC, and Should we Care_ Unique Analysis of the KEYNOTE-024 trial [720p] - OncologyTube
What is PFS2 in Advanced NSCLC, and Should we Care_ Unique Analysis of the KEYNOTE-024 trial [720p] - OncologyTube
Category: Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia
36 Views
Stan 2 months
Patient Priorities Should be Paramount when Measuring Quality in Cancer Care According to Panelists at NCCN Policy Summit
Patient Priorities Should be Paramount when Measuring Quality in Cancer Care According to Panelists at NCCN Policy Summit
Category: Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia
20 Views
Cancer-News 2 months
IASLC World Conference on Lung Cancer—Press Briefing Summary from Sunday, September 8th in Barcelona
IASLC World Conference on Lung Cancer—Press Briefing Summary from Sunday, September 8th in Barcelona
Category: Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia
32 Views
Cancer-News 2 months
IPS based approach for treating virus-induced tumors
IPS based approach for treating virus-induced tumors
Category: Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia
12 Views
Cancer-News 2 months
Pivotal New Data from Merck’s Broad Oncology Portfolio at ESMO 2019 Congress
Pivotal New Data from Merck’s Broad Oncology Portfolio at ESMO 2019 Congress
Category: Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia
48 Views
Cancer-News 2 months
AMGEN ANNOUNCES NEW CLINICAL DATA EVALUATING NOVEL INVESTIGATIONAL KRASG12C INHIBITOR IN LARGER  PATIENT GROUP AT WCLC 2019
AMGEN ANNOUNCES NEW CLINICAL DATA EVALUATING NOVEL INVESTIGATIONAL KRASG12C INHIBITOR IN LARGER PATIENT GROUP AT WCLC 2019
Category: Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia
28 Views
Cancer-News 2 months
Soricimed and Image Analysis Group Partner to Validate Predictive Imaging Markers for SOR-C13 Treatment Response in Solid Cancer Tumors
Soricimed and Image Analysis Group Partner to Validate Predictive Imaging Markers for SOR-C13 Treatment Response in Solid Cancer Tumors
Category: Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia
15 Views
Cancer-News 2 months
Intraoperative Teamwork of Breast Cancer Surgeon and Pathologist Greatly Reduces Need for Second Surgery After Lumpectomy
Intraoperative Teamwork of Breast Cancer Surgeon and Pathologist Greatly Reduces Need for Second Surgery After Lumpectomy
Category: Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia
23 Views
Cancer-News 2 months