Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Guest Post: Exercise Proven Effective for Cancer Patients

Things have been just peachy here this morning...a nice 5.5 mile run, oats for breakfast and reading book #2 of the Hunger Games series. Yes, that's right I got my hands on a copy of Catching Fire!  Shouldn't take long to cruise through this one. 

But that is all you are going to hear from me today, here to take over is David Haas, writer for the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance!  David has recently been researching and writing about how beneficial cancer support networks and staying physically fit is to people going through treatments, in remission and even family members of cancer patients. He found my blog and asked if he could do a guest post seeing how being physically fit ties right in with my blog.  So without further ado here it is....

Exercise Proven Effective for Cancer Patients

Both cancer and cancer treatments can cause a number of secondary symptoms that dramatically impact the quality of life. Fatigue, depression and loss of mobility can all work to sap the desire to live and lower the effectiveness of treatment, which may reduce the chance of survival. Rather than succumbing to these symptoms and letting them dictate the future, there is an option that is proven to help reduce and, in some cases, eliminate them. Physical fitness has long been on the back burner as far as cancer treatment goes, because doctors believed that the body needed rest more than anything following surgery and other treatments. However, research has turned this old idea on its head.

Major Cancer Research Organizations Say Exercise is Important!
Though studies so far have primarily documented the successful use of exercise for only the most common cancers, like prostate, breast and colorectal cancers, most research organizations are calling on all cancer clinics to begin incorporating exercise as treatment. One of the central challenges of cancer treatment has always been maintaining patient adherence to the treatment and follow-up programs. Research has conclusively shown that exercise will improve quality of life and maintain patient motivation to get better.

Individualize Exercise Programs.
Even brain cancer and mesothelioma treatment teams are being apprised of the benefits of consulting with physical fitness experts to devise safe programs. The key is to design exercise programs around the identification of safety concerns and patient preferences. Trained therapists working in tandem with the treatment team best accomplish this. Some patients, such as those with breast cancer, will be able to maintain regular aerobic exercise without oversight, while a recent surgery may require a special set of exercises that target the affected muscles. 

Whether the routine is prescribed or a general recommendation, the benefits are well worth the effort. Quicker recovery time, extra energy, and improved body composition all lead to higher quality of life and prevention of recurrence. Though this message is clear, it is still up to patients in many clinics to push for adoption of this treatment strategy. Patient advocacy is needed ensure that both clinics and insurance providers understand the benefits of regular exercise for both prevention and treatment of cancer.

Exercise Recommendations are not One Size Fits All
The most common advice is that, if possible, patients should be getting the same amount of moderate-intensity aerobics as healthy adults are recommended. This means 20-30 minute sessions 3-5 times per week. Beyond this, the type of exercise should be based off personal preference, because you will be more likely to stick with something you enjoy. Special routines should be devised for patients during treatment or facing a poor prognosis.


Thank you David for sharing this great information!  If you have any questions for David feel free to leave a comment and I will see to it that he gets your questions or stop over at his blog.  


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