Fact-Checked: Obese Women Have The Same Improved Survival Rate After Breast Cancer As Non-Obese Women

The claim below, by Chris Wark in his book, is by far my favorite of the examples of Wark omitting information that could negatively impact his position and basically misleading the reader as to what the research actually reports.

The claim:

Breast cancer patients who exercise regularly (the equivalent of walking 30 minutes per day) and ate five or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day had half the recurrence rate after nine years compared to patients who didn’t exercise or eat lots of fruits and veggies.9

Fact Checked:

The book’s footnote links to this study:

John P.Pierce, “Greater Survival After Breast Cancer in Physically Active Women with High Vegetable-Fruit Intake Regardless of Obesity”, Journal of Clinical Oncology 25.17 (June 2007): 2345-51. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2274898/

Did you catch that? The study was actually investigating the variables of physical activity, diet, and obesity with survival after breast cancer.  Would a diet change that includes 5 servings of fruits and vegetables in addition to moderate paced walking 30 minutes a day improve survival odds after breast cancer even for obese women? Conclusion?

Among those who adhered to this healthy lifestyle, there was no apparent effect of obesity on survival. The effect was stronger in women who had hormone receptor–positive cancers.

In summary, breast cancer survivors who consume a healthy diet and are physically active may increase their years of survival after diagnosis. Specifically, we have shown that those who reported eating a minimum of 5 VF servings daily and performing weekly physical activity equivalent to 30 minutes of walking at a moderate pace for 6 days a week had a higher 10-year survival rate than those who did not adhere to these lifestyle practices. The improved survival rate was observed in women who were obese as well as those who were not obese. Adhering to these two health behaviors reduced the probability of death in the follow-up period by 50%…

This is great news for obese cancer patients and gives them hope they can change their lifestyle practices and have the same expectation of an improved survival rate as non-obese women.

But Chris omits this information, likely because it conflicts with his published statements regarding obesity and undermines the statements made in other chapters of his book.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.