Moderate Exercise May Make Radiation Cancer Treatments More Effective

Kansas State University kinesiology research offers encouraging information for cancer patients: A brisk walk or a slow jog on a regular basis may be the key to improved cancer treatments.

Brad Behnke, associate professor of exercise physiology, and collaborators have shown that moderate exercise on a regular basis enhances tumor oxygenation, which may improve treatments in cancer patients. Now Behnke is using a $750,000 American Cancer Society grant to study moderate exercise as a way to make radiation treatments more effective, especially for difficult-to-treat tumors.

“If we can increase the efficacy of radiation treatment, then the patient’s prognosis is enhanced,” Behnke said. “An intervention like exercise has almost universally positive side effects versus other treatments that can have deleterious side effects. Exercise is a type of therapy that benefits multiple systems in the body, and may permanently alter the environment within the tumor.”

The National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health recommends exercise for cancer patients and cancer survivors, but little research shows what happens within the tumors during such exercise. That prompted Behnke to combine his expertise in integrative physiology with cancer research. He also has received support from the university’s Johnson Cancer Research Center.

“I became interested in finding out what happens within the tumor during and after exercise as a means to enhance treatment outcomes,” Behnke said.

For the latest research, Behnke is using prostate cancer tumor models to find ways to enhance oxygen delivery to tumors. When a tumor is hypoxic, or has low oxygen, it is often very aggressive, Behnke said. Because oxygen is a “radiosensitizer,” it helps destroy cancer cells. As a result, low-oxygen tumors often are resistant to traditional cancer therapies, such as radiation therapy, and interventions, such as concentrated oxygen breathing, are used to get more oxygen to the tumor before treatment.

“If we manipulate all the systems in the body — the lungs, the heart and the blood vessels — with exercise, we can take advantage of the dysfunctional vasculature in the tumor and enhance blood flow to the tumor,” Behnke said. “The tumor becomes the path of least resistance for the elevated cardiac output of exercise, which results in a substantial increase in tumor oxygenation during and after exercise.”

But the key is moderate exercise, said Behnke. Too little exercise may have no effect, but too much exercise may have a negative effect and may shut down blood flow to the tumor region or impair the immune system.

Moderate exercise is an activity that uses 30 to 60 percent of someone’s aerobic capacity, Behnke said. The activity is nonstrenuous and is something that most people can perform, such as a brisk walk or a slow jog.

Research also has shown that moderate exercise can help cancer patients counteract some of the side effects of treatment — such as low blood count, fatigue, cachexia and lost muscle mass — which has led to many researchers labeling this as “aerobic exercise therapy” for patients with cancer, Behnke said.

“There really aren’t any negative side effects of moderate-intensity exercise,” Behnke said. “Exercise is often prescribed to improve the side effects of cancer and treatment, but what exercise is doing within the tumor itself is likely beneficial as well.”

Source: Kansas State University

Mushroom Timbales


1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 large onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1½ lb thinly sliced mushrooms
4 eggs
1 cup milk
6 sliced French bread, crust trimmed, cut into cubes (about 1 cup)
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground red pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease eight 6-ounce metal moulds or ramekins.
  2. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute until tender.
  3. Add the mushrooms and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes.
  4. Combine the eggs and milk and beat well.
  5. Stir in the bread cubes and blend in the seasonings. Add the mushroom mixture and stir gently.
  6. Spoon into the moulds and bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until set. Remove carefuly from the moulds and serve.

Makes 8 servings.

Source: Windham Hill Inn

What’s For Breakfast?

As every day slowly dawns across the globe, families in different parts of the world are waking up hungry for things that many of us would never think of as breakfast. Taking a look at what a ‘traditional’ breakfast means to different people in different countries can open your eyes to a whole new world of breakfast possibilities, and awaken an appetite for something new.

The breakfasts of champions

Nothing sets the tone for a great day like a great breakfast. Cereal, pancakes, bacon, toast, oatmeal, baked beans, hash browns, eggs every style… Everyone has a favourite. But what we consider here in Canada to be a ‘classic’ breakfast might seem quite unusual to people in other parts of the world, where soup, fish, and spicy sauces are the norm. Sound strange? You might be surprised how much you like eating dishes you’d normally equate with lunch or dinner for breakfast.


How about hot miso soup, some green tea, and a small bowl of rice with natto? Natto is a sticky and powerfully flavoured preparation of soybeans that tastes and smells a little like cheese. Pickles and grilled fish are also widely enjoyed as part of a morning meal in this part of the world. Sound inspiring? Try this warming Chicken Noodle Bowl for breakfast.


On this Indonesian island, nasi campur is eaten for breakfast, and all day long. It’s essentially rice with small portions of varying vegetables, meats and condiments – a little like this popular coconut rice and fish dish. In Bali, everyone helps them selves whenever they’re hungry – gathering for meals is reserved for special occasions.

India and Pakistan

Kichdi is a simple but delicious mix of rice, lentils and spices that’s frequently served for breakfast with pickles and yogurt. It’s often prepared with ghee, or clarified butter. Like oatmeal or mashed potatoes, it’s true comfort food. If you’re looking to softly spice up your morning, try this savoury Butternut Squash Dal.


If you like a slice of cheese on buttered bread in the morning, you might have Swedish ancestors. This classic open-faced combo is known in Sweden as smörgås, and it’s frequently topped with cucumber, tomato, and sliced meat. While this may sound more like lunch than breakfast to some of us, we think you’ll find your family will be perfectly delighted to wake up to a smörgåsbord.


You may have tasted huevos rancheros on vacation or in a Mexican restaurant – it’s basically eggs with spiced tomato sauce, served with tortillas and beans. Huevos moteluños is a Yucatan breakfast specialty that features eggs on a tostada with tomato, plantain, peas, and a delicious fresh cheese known as queso fresco. This fresh cheese is increasingly available across Canada, and is a delicious addition to your favourite egg dish.

So mix it up! You might be surprised to find out how much you love smoked fish and cream cheese in the morning, cold rice pudding, warm ricotta with sliced fruit, or kale smoothies with Greek yogurt. You won’t know until you try. Just don’t skip breakfast, and try to include at least three food groups. We sure you’ll find that the more you put into breakfast, the more you’ll get out of it.

Source: Dairy Farmers of Canada

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