Today’s blog post has been written by David Haas. Thank you so much for giving us this great info and there are so many cancer patients around the world. You can learn more about David and the work he does here.
Enhancing Cancer Treatments with Exercise
A sedentary lifestyle has long been known to contribute to the risk of many types of cancer and other chronic diseases. Poor circulation, imbalanced hormone production, weight gain, and numerous other side effects of a lack of exercise can also mean more complications during treatment and worse side effects. This can ultimately contribute to the need for a less aggressive style of treatment and lower chances of survival. It will certainly mean a lower quality of life for patients.
Researchers looking at the fitness levels of those diagnosed with breast or prostate cancer found that regular exercise offered enormous benefits. Breast cancer patients who regularly exercised had a 40% reduction on the combined risk of dying or experiencing recurrence. Exercise meant a 30% lower chance of dying from prostate cancer. Though information is limited due to insufficient studies on the many types of cancer, current research has convinced the major cancer research organizations to recommend all patients and survivors work to improve their physical fitness.
How Can a Fitness Program Help During Treatment?
Undergoing treatment puts the body under enormous stress. Chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgeries will suppress immune function and cause a set of common symptoms for most patients. The possibilities for exercise will be more limited during this time, but benefits can still be gained. Specific types of exercise can aid recovery from surgery, and these will usually be done under the guidance of a specially trained physical therapist. Even short walks and low-intensity yoga will help to overcome nausea, fatigue, depression and other common complaints.
The key to exercise is regularity. The amount and intensity should always be subject to change, especially during treatment but also as fitness levels improve. Choosing a schedule and sticking with it is the way to reduce symptoms of treatment, as well as to ensure that the program continues to offer benefits after treatment. Everything should be done to make exercise as enjoyable as possible.
What Type of Exercise is Best During Treatment?
During this sensitive time, doctors have traditionally told their patients to take it easy and relax as much as possible. Relaxation is important, and so are safety concerns regarding patients over-exerting themselves during treatment. However, a qualified fitness expert can help to design the right exercise program for any patient, even during lung cancer or mesothelioma treatment. The benefits are too many for this option to be overlooked.
Guidelines have been issued that suggest cancer clinics begin working directly with fitness professionals to implement safe and effective programs for all patients. Though options will be more limited during treatment, the schedule that is established can be modified to include more enjoyable forms of exercise as health permits.