Exercise as Cancer Therapy

Guest article by David Haas, Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance

A growing body of evidence supports the benefits of exercise as cancer therapy. Numerous studies have examined the relationship between exercise, cancer recovery and quality of life. The findings are positive and extremely encouraging.

Many studies have followed cancer patients who added exercise to their treatment plans. These studies have included patients and survivors or breast cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer and more. Generally, exercise had a positive effect on their physical and mental health throughout the treatment phase of their disease. Continued research seems to confirm the earlier findings.

Physical and Psychological Benefits

Physically active cancer patients report more energy, less nausea, lighter moods and a better sense of control during powerful treatments like radiation and chemotherapy. They are typically stronger and leaner, have lower heart rates and enjoy better functional capacity than sedentary cancer patients.

Active patients experience positive psychological changes like fewer mood disturbances, less anxiety and stress and better sleep quality. In fact, the psychological differences between active and sedentary cancer patients are the most notable differences.

This is important, because good mental and emotional health are essential for recovery. Even patients with advanced cancers benefit from the positive outlook that exercise promotes. Regular exercise enables patients to cope with the stress of cancer. It enables them to tolerate treatments and look toward survivorship.

Exercise Guidelines and Cautions

Some patients are unable to exercise. People enduring treatment for mesothelioma cancer, or those battling other advanced diseases, are often bedridden. Doctors usually advise them to rest. Many people, however, can manage at least a little movement. For most patients, exercise is excellent complementary therapy.

Exercise cannot cure cancer, but some patients call it a wonder drug. Many medical doctors and holistic practitioners agree. Exercise should be a regular part of a comprehensive cancer treatment plan. Doctors and professional trainers can tailor cancer fitness programs to individual needs and abilities. The intensity and duration of exercise naturally progresses as fitness levels improve.

Most cancer patients can exercise from the day they are diagnosed with their illness, and doctors should encourage them to do so. Physical activity goes a long way toward managing treatment side effects. As patients complete their final rounds of chemotherapy, exercise helps them handle the long-term side effects of treatment and recovery.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, better known as the CDC, recommends two hours and thirty minutes of aerobic activity every week. They advise strengthening exercises at least twice a week. If 150 minutes seems like too much exercise, patients can break up the time into shorter segments spread throughout the day. Ten-minute increments are a good place to start, and the duration will increase naturally in time.

Is exercise really a wonder drug for cancer? More research is needed for specific cancer and treatment types. However, the majority of health professionals now encourage exercise as good cancer therapy. While patients should use caution and always get their doctor’s approval, exercise offers few risks and many benefits that extend well beyond cancer.

About the author, David Haas:Joining the organization in 2011, David Haas is a cancer support group and awareness program advocate at the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance. In addition to researching the many valuable programs available to our site’s visitors, 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.
Read more: http://www.mesothelioma.com/

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