My Malignant Melanoma

Seanty's experiences with Metastatic Malignant Melanoma. Part of Email us direct at

Thursday, 20 August 2009



Someone kindly sent me this article yesterday on exercise and cancer. There does seem to be some reasonable evidence that exercise can reduce your chances of getting breast and bowel cancer.

It is also true that dietary factors seem to be associated with getting various cancers.

However, for those of us who already have/have had cancer, what part do diet and exercise play in preventing recurrence? The Swedish study in the first link showed that men who did exercise and got cancer were more likely to survive it, but the study had quite a few flaws, and the newspaper article exaggerates the strength of the evidence. Here's what the NHS think of the study.

So there is presently no real evidence that the standard diet and exercise advice given to the general public isn't also the best advice for cancer patients.

Yes, there is a good chance that diet and exercise play a part in some bowel and breast cancers, but we should be careful about consequently branding them lifestyle cancers as many seem to for Melanoma.

I also object to the partners of cancer patients who bully them (and any other cancer patients they can get to listen) into doing excessive exercise and eating a miserable diet in the hope of preventing recurrence.

There's no evidence that it has any effect on outcome, other than perhaps in Swedish men with certain cancers, and depriving people of the comfort of good food will do no good to their quality of life.

I remember one woman who boasted on the melanoma board that her husband was eating only brown rice and cold gravel and cycling some enormous distance every day right up until he dropped dead, and aggressively recommending that we followed his example.

She didn't appreciate us pointing out that it had done her husband no good at all, and that frankly a kebab now and then wouldn't go amiss.

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