Is Exercise Good for People with Cancer?

 

What is Cancer?

Cancer is a group of diseases characterised by the uncontrolled growth and spread of abnormal cells in the body. Normally, cells in the body divide and grow in a controlled manner, but cancer cells divide and grow uncontrollably, forming tumours or invading nearby tissues and organs.

Cancer can occur in any part of the body and can spread to other parts of the body through the bloodstream or lymphatic system. There are many different types of cancer, including breast cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer, and leukaemia, among others.

Some of the risk factors for cancer include genetic mutations, exposure to certain chemicals or substances, lifestyle factors such as smoking or excessive alcohol consumption, and certain infections such as HPV or hepatitis B and C.

The treatment of cancer depends on the type and stage of cancer, but may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, or a combination of these approaches. Early detection and treatment of cancer can improve the chances of successful treatment and survival.

Benefits of exercise

Regular exercise has been shown to provide numerous benefits for people with cancer. While cancer and its treatments can cause fatigue, weakness, and decreased quality of life, exercise has been found to improve physical function, reduce fatigue, improve psychological wellbeing, and even improve cancer-related outcomes such as survival rates and treatment tolerance.

One of the primary benefits of exercise for people with cancer is improved physical function. Cancer and its treatments can cause muscle wasting, weakness, and loss of overall physical function. Exercise, on the other hand, has been found to increase muscle strength, improve endurance, and enhance overall physical performance in cancer patients and survivors (1). Exercise has also been found to help prevent or mitigate cancer-related symptoms such as fatigue, pain, and peripheral neuropathy (2).

In addition to physical benefits, exercise has also been found to improve psychological wellbeing in cancer patients and survivors. Studies have shown that exercise can reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, improve overall mood, and enhance quality of life (3). This is especially important for people with cancer, who may experience high levels of stress and anxiety related to their diagnosis and treatment.

Exercise has also been found to have a positive impact on cancer-related outcomes. Several studies have shown that exercise can improve survival rates in cancer patients, especially those with breast, colon, and prostate cancers (4). Additionally, exercise has been found to improve treatment tolerance and reduce the risk of treatment-related side effects, such as neuropathy, lymphedema, and cardiotoxicity (5).

The benefits of exercise for people with cancer are supported by a growing body of research. A systematic review of randomised controlled trials found that exercise interventions led to significant improvements in physical function, quality of life, and fatigue in cancer patients and survivors (6). Another study found that exercise interventions improved survival rates in breast and colon cancer patients (7).

Conclusion

In conclusion, exercise is a safe and effective intervention for cancer patients and survivors. Exercise can improve physical function, reduce fatigue, improve psychological wellbeing, and even improve cancer-related outcomes such as survival rates and treatment tolerance. Cancer patients and survivors should be encouraged to engage in regular exercise, tailored to their individual needs and capabilities, as a means of improving overall health and quality of life.

At TG Fitness, we help clients redefine their limits with our inclusive personal training services, specialising in working with disabled people and those with chronic illnesses. We believe that everyone deserves access to fitness and wellness services that cater to their unique needs, which is why our network of skilled and experienced trainers will work closely with you to create a bespoke fitness plan that fits your body and lifestyle. Join our inclusive community today and start your fitness journey towards improved mobility, reduced pain, and a healthier, more energised life. Contact us now to schedule your first consultation and experience the benefits of personalised, accessible training.

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References:

  1. Cormie, P., et al. (2017). Exercise as medicine in the management of cancer. Current Oncology Reports

  2. Mishra, S. I., et al. (2012). Exercise interventions on health-related quality of life for cancer survivors. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews
  3. Buffart, L. M., et al. (2012). Psychosocial interventions for cancer survivors: A meta-analysis of effects on positive affect. Journal of Cancer Survivorship
  4. Schmid, D., et al. (2018). Effects of exercise on overall and site-specific cancer survival: A meta-analysis of 34 randomized controlled trials. Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention
  5. Hayes, S. C., et al. (2019). Exercise for health: A randomized, controlled trial evaluating the impact of a pragmatic, translational exercise intervention on the quality of life, function and treatment-related side effects following breast cancer. Breast Cancer Research and Treatment
  6. Mishra, S. I., et al. (2012). Exercise interventions on health-related quality of life for cancer survivors. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews
  7. Speck, R. M., et al. (2010). Effects of exercise on physiological and psychological variables in cancer survivors. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise
  8. Campbell, K. L., et al. (2019). Exercise guidelines for cancer survivors: Consensus statement from international multidisciplinary roundtable. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise
  9. Fong, D. Y., et al. (2012). Physical activity for cancer survivors: Meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. British Medical Journal
  10. Ligibel, J. A., et al. (2014). American society of clinical oncology position statement on obesity and cancer. Journal of Clinical Oncology
  11. Schmitz, K. H., et al. (2010). American College of Sports Medicine roundtable on exercise guidelines for cancer survivors. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise
  12. Wolin, K. Y., et al. (2012). Physical activity and colon cancer prevention: A meta-analysis. British Journal of Cancer
  13. Courneya, K. S., et al. (2019). Effects of exercise dose and type during breast cancer chemotherapy: Multicenter randomized trial. Journal of the National Cancer Institute

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