Breast Cancer News of Note: Survivorship is Increasing for Early-Stage Breast Cancer Survivors

July 11, 2023

Recent research indicates that due to the improvements in breast cancer detection and treatment, survival rates have increased (Gregory, 2023). According to Craig (2023), “Most women diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer today can expect to become long-term cancer survivors.” Research has found that survivorship is 95% likely in the case of an early-stage breast cancer diagnosis (Craig, 2023). Additionally, Hamer and Warner (2017) state that “positive lifestyle changes can also be psychologically beneficial” to individuals with breast cancer. A healthy lifestyle can provide individuals with control when they are facing the challenges of a breast cancer diagnosis (Hamer & Warner, 2017).

Strategies that May Increase Survivorship

There are several holistic strategies that can be utilized to increase survivorship. These include exercising, being at a healthy weight, having a healthy diet, and decreasing alcohol intake (American Cancer Society [ACS], 2022; Hamer & Warner, 2017). According to Hamer and Warner (2017), “Physical activity has the strongest effect on reducing the risk of breast cancer recurrence” while increasing survivorship. Additionally, according to research, an increase in exercise coupled with a low-fat diet and a reduction in alcohol consumption has been proven to reduce the recurrence of cancer (ACS, 2022). Freudenheim (2020) states that “The meta-analysis showed that for a 10-gram increase in alcohol consumed per day on average, [the] risk increased 5% among premenopausal women and 9% among postmenopausal women. A standard drink contains approximately 14 grams of alcohol.” By reducing alcohol consumption and increasing healthy habits, an individual may be able to increase their survivorship when diagnosed with breast cancer.

Recent Discussions Surrounding Food and Survivorship

Research regarding food and survivorship indicates that changes in one’s diet should be approached with caution and with the help of a medical professional. Some recent studies found an association between obsessive thoughts and maintaining a healthy diet. Forti (2021) states “Orthorexia nervosa, or the obsession with nutritional eating, can be especially triggered in cancer patients who need to manage anxiety and feel more control over their diagnosis.” Orthorexia nervosa can have adverse effects on physical and physiological health. When approaching a new diet, ask for guidance from a medical professional (Forti, 2021). Since each individual’s medical journey is unique, H4TG recommends that adjustments in or intervention strategies related to diet, exercise, alcohol intake, and overall changes in health be discussed with one’s medical team.

If you or a loved one are experiencing a challenging time with nutritional needs, you can contact a 24/7 online hotline here.


American Cancer Society. (2022). Can I lower my risk of breast cancer returning or progressing? Can I Lower My Risk of Breast Cancer Returning or Progressing?

Craig, M. (2023, June 13). Study findings could reassure most women treated for early breast cancer. News Medical Life Sciences.

Forti, A. (2021). The intersection of orthorexia and cancer. Psychology Today.

Freudenheim J. L. (2020). Alcohol's Effects on Breast Cancer in Women. Alcohol research: current reviews, 40(2), 11.

Gregory, A. (2023, June 13). Most early-stage breast cancer patients will be long-term survivors – study. The Guardian.

Hamer, J., & Warner, E. (2017). Lifestyle modifications for patients with breast cancer to improve prognosis and optimize overall health. CMAJ : Canadian Medical Association journal = journal de l'Association medicale canadienne, 189(7), E268–E274.



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