04 June 2012

Exercise Benefits for Cancer Patients by David Haas, Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance

Exercise Benefits for Cancer Patients Begin at Diagnosis
Of the many stressful events in life, a diagnosis of cancer ranks highly. One in two men and one in three women will face the stress of diagnosis, which can result in secondary symptoms and ultimately exacerbate the symptoms caused by cancer and treatment. Secondary symptoms caused by diagnosis include depression, anxiety, insomnia, and loss of appetite. Researchers have discovered a therapy that is capable of lessening the stress of diagnosis and other common symptoms as well.

Exercise as a treatment has been evaluated for many types and stages of cancer. It prevents and reduces the severity of symptoms and also increases the efficacy of treatment, reduces the risk of recurrence, and reduces the development of chronic diseases related to specific treatments.

Benefits of Beginning Exercise with Diagnosis
Clinics have been slow to make physical fitness experts available to patients at every stage of treatment, but this shouldn’t stop anyone from being active. Those with fitness experience should continue at their normal levels and talk about their routine with their doctor. Those with little history of exercise are advised to speak with their doctor and begin a low to moderately intense program.

Programs can consist of walking for 20 minutes each day for six days a week. Other exercises such as yoga, cycling, swimming, or any type of aerobics work as well. Strength training at least twice a week is also important. Weight training, isometric exercises, and special types of yoga will build lean muscle quickly and increase your aerobic ability. It’s vital to achieve higher levels of fitness before treatment, especially for chemotherapy and radiation. Treatment will reduce exercise capacity and those who start in better health will experience less severe symptoms.

One study performed for the Journal of the National Cancer Institute sought to determine whether exercise following breast cancer diagnosis was responsible for reducing cancer mortality and recurrence. After controlling many factors, experts found exercise did improve overall and disease-free survival for cancer patients.

Addressing Other Forms of Cancer
Breast cancer requires regular screening and is highly treatable. Other forms of cancer spread before being caught and others are resistant to treatment. In cases like pancreatic cancer and mesothelioma, exercise may seem unwarranted, but research shows it will still be beneficial.

When time is limited, quality of life becomes an important factor. At least one study has shown that a higher quality of life can be used to predict longer survival time. In any case, exercise is a unique method of reducing the severity of multiple symptoms without worry of compounding side effects.

About the Author: This is a guest post by David Haas, Awareness Program Advocate. Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance. David is a cancer support group and awareness program advocate at the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance. In addition to researching the many valuable programs, David often blogs about programs and campaigns underway at the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance, as well as creative fitness ideas for those dealing with cancer, while creating relationships with similar organizations.

1 comment:

Lakshmi Narayanan N said...

Thanks to David for a wonderful post and picking Unstuck for the campaign. I hope it helps people to have better lifestyle and improve quality of life.

Glad to post this.