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I
n this edition of Health Triangle, I'm delighted
to bring you three new articles giving different
perspectives on cancer. Dr Ailsa White is one of
a new generation of cancer specialists who is em-
bracing the need for lifestyle medicine alongside
conventional treatment. Charlottle Crowl is some-
one who has used her own gruelling experience of
cancer at a very early age as a platform to educate
people about the importance of lifestyle. And Kirst-
en Chick is a highly experienced nutritionist who
shares some of her extensive understanding of the
gut microbiome. Enjoy!
t
he
miSSinG
PieCe
of
the
Puzzle
?
An NHS cancer specialist explores the role of
lifestyle medicine in cancer
Dr Ailsa White is a cancer
specialist who, through
personal experience of the
foundational role of nutrition
and exercise in good health,
has become an advocate for
integrating lifestyle medicine
into cancer treatment.
Having spent the last
ten years experiencing the
highs and lows as a doctor in the NHS, I have taken
time away from the wards to research cancer and
have two children. Working as a doctor and treating
patients with cancer on a daily basis has given me
a privileged insight into the brevity and fragility of
life. My personal struggle with a chronic disease
has lent me perspective from the other end of the
stethoscope, and I have developed an interest in
health and fitness and the huge impact it has on
disease and illness. I transformed my lifestyle and I
found my condition improved. During this journey,
which is documented on my Instagram account
and blog (see below), I realised that much of what I
was learning had relevance to my work life - I am a
doctor training to be a cancer specialist.
Nutrition is very poorly taught in medical
school, it has only been by self-education that I
have come to realise that exercise and nutrition are
some of the most under-utilised tools in the fight
against cancer. To be clear I am still a firm advocate
of conventional anti-cancer medicine, like surgery,
chemotherapy and radiotherapy. However, I think
as oncologists we are missing a big piece of the
puzzle. I think it is clear that good nutrition and
exercise have a role in optimising the human body to
be able to withstand the conventional treatments.
Also there is good evidence that nutrition and
fitness have a role in survivorship and preventing
cancer recurrence. There are around 150 published
randomised control trials investigating exercise
in the context of cancer. Around 120 are in cured
breast cancer patients. I believe that exercise plays
a crucial role, with many potential advantages.
It may help improve chances of survival
There are now a number of studies showing
increased survival in groups of patients that exercise
after diagnosis.
These studies have been done in many types
of cancer, for example breast 1, 2, bowel 3, brain 4,
prostate 5, 6 and lung 6. These studies are all slightly
different, but to summarise, they demonstrated
43%-70% improvement in survival in the group of
patients that exercised. In the breast cancer study it
was 2 hours of brisk walking a week. In the bowel
cancer study it was more - 6 hours per week of
vigorous exercise.
T
he
Y
es
To
L
ife
s
how
by Robin Daly
Founder & Chairman, Yes to Life
Calendar of Upcoming Yes to Life Events
6th May - Healing with Painting Workshop with Elisabetta Fumigalli, London
June 10th - The Health Benefits of Linseed with Durwin Banks, Horsham
June 22nd - Medicinal Mushrooms with Hifas da Terra, Camden, London
29th June - The Role of Chinese Medicine in Cancer Support with Don Mei, Camden, London
See Events at yestolife.org.uk for more details