People struggling with cancer might protest, saying that they’re trying to stay alive and they would rather not spend time getting buff… But a study published in JAMA Oncology found that women with breast cancer might have better chances of surviving if they have more muscle mass.
Loss of Muscle Mass Leads to Poor Outcome
When people feel sick, they lose weight – and a lot of it is muscle. With low muscle mass and old age, the body cannot cope with critical illness, and it includes patients that suffer from cancer.
There have been conducted other studies on women with advanced cancer. This recent study has included young women with less advanced breast cancer. It resulted that poor outcome is related to the small amount of muscle. In the study, there were 3,241 women, who have been diagnosed with stages II or III of breast cancer between 2000 – 2013, all patients at the Kaiser Permanente of Northern California and Dana Farber Cancer Institute.
High Muscle Mass Equals Better Rate of Survival
The study concluded that outcomes are better when the women have a higher muscle mass, and it doesn’t matter how old the patient is or her cancer stage. Lower muscle mass increases the risk of death in breast cancer patients.
The researchers used CT scans and looked at the patients’ muscles getting affected by cancer. They haven’t yet found a link between low muscle mass and low survival rate, but it surely shows that cancer affects muscle tissue.
As a conclusion, women should build more muscle, even if they don’t have breast cancer, as a means of prevention. Dr. Jennifer Ashton, the chief medical correspondent for ABC News stated the following:
“If we’re all going to deal with [muscle loss] as we age, better start identifying it as a risk factor now, and targeting it, so we can minimize its impact.”
Muscle can be built by lifting weights at the gym, even if they are light weights, the outcome is still positive. There is also yoga, Pilates or step classes to build muscle through squats, lunges, and other exercises. You can also use an exercise vest and just run errands.
Along with a good and healthy diet which contains proteins, healthy muscle is easy to build and keeps us healthy and strong.
Andre Blair s is the lead editor for Advocator.ca. He holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.P.H.) from the School of Public Health, Department of Health Administration, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Andre specializes in environmental health, but writes on a variety of issues.