Sunday, January 29, 2012

Exercise your options...

Special guest blogger: David Haas.

You can find more about David at

The common link between physical fitness and cancer prevention has been proven time and again, though lack of a regular exercise program is acknowledged as only one potential risk factor. Still, it is one of the risk factors that individuals have control over, so the emphasis is justified. Cancer experts have found through a number of studies, both clinical trials and epidemiology, that fitness is just as important during treatment.

Exercise during breast cancer treatment, for instance, has been shown in over 30 studies to reduce the common symptom of fatigue, improve quality of life scores for patients and reduce the risk of recurrence. Unfortunately, it has likewise been shown that a diagnosis of breast cancer typically results in lower levels of physical activity.

Similar findings have surfaced for other common forms of cancer, including hormone-based and colorectal cancers. Exercise is an important adjunct to treatment, capable of reducing the problems caused by cancer and treatments. Loss of self-image can cause emotional disorders, and chemotherapy often results in a mix of symptoms, like nausea, insomnia and poor bowel function. Exercise provides relief from these problems in otherwise healthy people, and modern medical research found that it works just the same for cancer patients.

Risks of Exercise During Treatment:

The primary reason exercise is not being adopted faster by cancer clinics, despite recommendations by the leading research organizations, is patient safety. Doctors worry that patients can be injured or may reduce their body's tolerance to treatment. While it is true that certain forms of exercise are inadvisable in certain conditions, such as high-intensity aerobics during mesothelioma treatment; all patients are capable of and will benefit from the use of a regular exercise program.

What that program looks like depends on medical evaluation and the patient’s own preferences. Most breast cancer patients will be able to engage in moderate-intensity workouts like walking, while those with bone cancer may be steered toward a no-impact exercise, such as water aerobics. For those facing a terminal prognosis, exercise can still provide benefits by reducing symptoms. The more the risk of exercise increases, the more imperative it is to seek the services of a fitness expert trained in cancer care.

Role of Personal Trainers:

A growing number of clinics and insurance plans are providing physical therapists for patients after surgeries, because specialized exercises have shown valuable in speeding up recovery time. Personal trainers can do much more though, especially when working as part of the clinical team. They can give suggestions on the most appropriate forms of exercise, as well as share knowledge of local resources. They are also skilled in helping patients stick to the program. Check with clinics to find one that provides fitness experts.

As always. We have the bullet in our hand - JM

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