Guest Post - Changing Perceptions of Exercise for Cancer Patients

Hi folks. I was approached by David Haas of and he has graciously written an article about Changing Perceptions of Exercise for Cancer Patients. Please continue reading and follow his blog.

Changing Perceptions of Exercise for Cancer Patients

Preventive medicine often receives little coverage in the media, and coverage is generally limited to a brief story when new research shows the benefits of a particular food or type of exercise. As a result, most people are still misinformed on the benefits of exercise despite the huge amount of research confirming these benefits. For instance, most know that exercise can help prevent many types of cancer, but the benefits of exercise after a cancer diagnosis are largely unknown, even by doctors.

This is changing, as the research has prompted research organizations to devise exercise guidelines for all cancer patients, as well as put additional funds toward confirming the benefits of exercise during different types of treatment.

What Are the Benefits?

The very same incentives that prompt millions of healthy people to head to the gym every week are available to every cancer patient, even those with bone cancer or mesothelioma. A stronger ability to adapt to and handle physical and emotional stress, leaner body composition, and increased oxygen and nutrient delivery throughout the body will all provide more specific benefits for cancer patients.

Fatigue is a common complaint of those undergoing treatment. The stress of hearing the diagnosis combined with the physical damage caused by chemotherapy and radiation causes fatigue that can last for up to five years following successful treatment. A physical fitness program will help the body to recover faster by prioritizing nutrient and oxygen delivery to damaged cells. It will also promote the production of exercise hormones, which are capable of lightening the mood and making room for hope and the desire to be well.
have confirmed this effect using a variety of exercise types on both hormone-based and terminal cancers. In one of the earlier studies, walking was found to be a simple way for those receiving outpatient radiation therapy to fight symptoms of fatigue and emotional distress. In particular, a study by Mock et al. in 1997 a home based waling exercise program can help manage symptoms - such as fatigue and anxiety – and improve physical function.

Is There a Preferred Form of Exercise or Special Precautions?

The first step, assuming a lack of history with exercise, is to discuss the possibilities with a doctor and physical therapist. Most patients will be able to engage in at least low-intensity aerobics and build up to more strenuous forms. However, some cases will require greater input from the therapist trained in cancer care. They can help determine a list of options suitable for the individual's health and treatment status.

Barring other considerations and poor fitness levels, more vigorous programs will provide increasing levels of benefits. The current recommendations are for 150-minutes of moderate-intensity aerobics per week, but studies have shown prostate cancer patients gaining further benefits with endurance running, considered a high-intensity or vigorous exercise. Regardless of the type chosen, all patients will benefit.

David Haas is a Family Hospital Co-ordinator who has been on blogger since June 2011.

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