Friday, January 6, 2012

Multiple Benefits Attributed to Exercise During Cancer Treatment written by David Haas

Tonight, I have the pleasure introducing a guest writer, David Haas, to my blog.  I hope you find his article as helpful and interesting as I did. Thank you David. 

Multiple Benefits Attributed to Exercise During Cancer Treatment

By helping to regulate the body's energy balance, hormone production and digestion, physical fitness has been identified as a preventive mechanism for hormone-related cancers. These same benefits of exercise strongly suggest that fitness plays a role in preventing many other types of cancer and other chronic diseases. A sedentary lifestyle promotes disease, both through declining body functions and the increase in risk of becoming obese. It stands to reason that an active lifestyle will inhibit disease.

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.

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I am a cancer patient advocate who writes and researches for the betterment of others. 


  1. It seems like a dose of exercise can help with all medical conditions! As time goes on and more research becomes available, exercise appears to be just as important as food and water to maintain life!

  2. You definitely cannot sit around and expect your body to heal on its own with Chemo alone. Exercise also puts me in a more positive attitude and that is very important as well.I haven't been doing exercise like I should lately cause of the issues I was having the past few months but I will get back into it. Bill