Though a growing number of preliminary studies have shown that exercise is also beneficial for those already diagnosed with cancer, the leading research organizations are not waiting for conclusive findings. They have made it clear that regular physical activity should be part of every cancer treatment program. Physical activity may be vaguely defined as any movement caused by skeletal muscles, but the current trend is to suggest that all patients and survivors work toward 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise every week.
Isn't Exercise Bad During Treatment?
In the past, and still at many cancer clinics, doctors have told patients to take it easy following treatments and surgeries. The notion that exercise puts undue stress on the body is changing, however, as exercise is consistently being shown to improve treatment outcomes and quality of life. Some of the common symptoms of treatment are alleviated through regular physical activity, including fatigue and digestive upset, and recovery time following surgery is shortened with exercises targeting the specific area.
Can Exercise Help in Terminal Cancers?
With terminal cases, the primary goal of treatment is typically to make the remaining time as pleasant as possible. Palliative care may involve directly addressing the cancer with radiation or chemotherapy. Since exercise has shown to play an important role in improving quality of life, it can be an important part of terminal care, including as brain cancer and mesothelioma treatment. Rather than trying to follow the exercise guide for healthy adults, patients are better off utilizing the expertise of a physical trainer who works directly with the treatment clinic.
Reducing symptoms and speeding recovery times are only part of the story. Starting an exercise program is very important for survivors, as it can improve self-esteem and reduce the threat of recurrence. Since studies have only emphasized aerobic activity, it is best to choose the form(s) of exercise that you find most enjoyable, in order to make sticking with the program easier.
- David Haas
- I am a cancer patient advocate who writes and researches for the betterment of others.