Thursday, November 17, 2011

Exercise And Cancer: Reducing The Risk, Enhancing The Treatment

Today, guest blogger, David Haas a fellow cancer survivor, blogger, and advocate requested to write a special post about exercise and the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.  I agreed to this because I know the importance of staying active to keep healthy.  Enjoy!
According to the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), exercise may reduce the risk of endometrial, colon, and invasive breast cancer. It may also increase the prostate cancer survival rate. Regular physical activity can even reduce a smoker’s risk of lung cancer, although quitting smoking is still the best action.

Numerous studies funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and other organizations suggest that exercise, combined with adequate rest, can lower the overall cancer risk. This applies whether a cancer is rare mesothelioma or common carcinomas. Although researchers are unclear as to how exercise does this, it may have something to do with the effect of exercise on weight, hormones, and immune function.

Not only can exercise lower cancer risk, but it plays an important role in cancer treatment, too. While it cannot cure cancer or treat the disease alone, it makes a good complement to conventional medicine. Exercise enables patients to cope with the side effects of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. And it maximizes a patient’s long-term well-being.

Exercise has the same benefits for cancer patients as it does for healthy adults. Increased fitness, greater strength, improved mood, and more energy are just some of the benefits of regular activity. But for cancer patients, exercise has additional benefits; it can actually enhance treatment.

Weight loss or gain is an area of special concern for nearly all cancer patients. Dramatic weight change is tied to both cancer and treatment symptoms. Regular activity helps to control weight, reduce cancer recurrence, and increase survival rates.

Exercise can also help patients better deal with the treatment symptoms associated with chemotherapy. Aggressive therapies take a toll on the body and mind. Nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, headaches, fatigue, and depression are just some of the side effects of cancer treatment. Exercise strengthens the whole body, so patients can handle their treatments better.

Research has produced compelling evidence that exercise is safe for most cancer patients, both during and after treatment -- as long as they do not push themselves. Patients should consult with their doctor before starting a cancer fitness program. Doctors and patients should work together to tailor a healthy exercise plan.

Different situations require different regimens, of course, but patients should avoid inactivity unless recommended by their doctor. Whether they choose jogging, swimming, bike riding, or yoga -- or just a stretch in bed and a walk down the hall -- cancer patients need some form of movement.

Ideally, they should strive to get the same amount of exercise that the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends for healthy adults -- 150 minutes per week, or about 20 minutes a day. The best plans combine aerobic activity with flexibility exercises and strength training for the best health benefits.

1 comment:

Lulu said...

Thank you for the special post! It's encouraging & motivating! :) Sending positive thoughts, Always! -Lulu