More research is needed into why cancer patients often suffer a relapse, a scientist claims.
Professor Martin Wiseman, a medical and scientific advisor to the World Cancer Research Fund, said more people are surviving cancer due to better treatments, meaning the issue requires urgent investigation.
He claims prevention strategies focus on increasing exercise levels and getting people to follow a low-fat diet, but little is known about the reasons the disease can recur.
Prof Wiseman said: “We do not know for sure whether different advice around nutrition and physical activity is needed for cancer survivors, but the point is that unless more research is done then we will never know.
“The main things that need to be looked at are how diet and physical activity can affect the progression of cells that are already cancerous.
“It is possible that what is important in early stages for preventing cancer developing is not the same as what is effective in slowing progression of a clone of cancerous cells.
“It might be that the relation between nutrition and progression of cancer is different from the relation between nutrition and prevention, because the cancerous cells behave differently from normal cells.
“One of the main reasons for a recurrence of cancer is that all the cancerous cells were not dealt with during treatment. This is why for cancer survivors, slowing down the progression of cancer is important.”
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