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Exercise can help cancer sufferers beat the disease and stop it returning

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UPDATED:

18:35 GMT, 29 August 2012


Health benefit: Regular exercise can cut the risk of cancer patients relapsing by 50 per cent

Health benefit: Regular exercise can cut the risk of cancer patients relapsing by 50 per cent

Cancer patients can cut the risk of recurrence by half if they exercise, a number of studies have found.

Despite the results the study also showed that many patients are reluctant to make efforts to keep fit and consider their daily activities sufficient exercise.

The study is part of a series of investigations looking at exercise habits among cancer patients conducted by the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

‘As doctors, we often tell patients that exercise is important, but to this point, nobody had studied what patients know about exercise, how they feel about it and what tends to get in the way,’ says lead author Dr Andrea Cheville.

For patients who have gone through breast or colon cancer treatment, regular exercise has been found to reduce recurrence of the disease by up to 50 per cent.

The study, published in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, found that patients who exercised regularly before their diagnosis were more likely to keep up their routines afterwards.

Dr Cheville said a lot of patients were not aware that an inactive lifestyle could contribute to greater vulnerability to cancer symptoms, hindering recovery.

The study was done on patients who went through treatment for colon and breast cancer, pictured

The study was done on patients who went through treatment for colon and breast cancer, pictured

Many of those who took part in the study
considered their thought their everyday activities, such as gardening
could class as exercise without realising that they required minimal
effort.

She said: ‘There was a real sense of ‘What I do every day, that’s my exercise.’

Sufficient: Many patients considered their everyday activities such as gardening enough exercise

Sufficient: Many patients considered their everyday activities such as gardening enough exercise

In addition, researchers found patients
took exercise advice most seriously when it came directly from their
oncologists, but none of those doctor’s studied had discussed it with
them.

‘Generally, patients are not being given concrete advice about exercise to help them maintain functionality and to improve their outcomes,’ Dr. Cheville said.

As well as improve mobility and
strength, exercise keep cancer them from becoming isolated in their
homes, help build a positive environment and ease cancer-related
fatigue.

The researchers
plan to investigate how to make the message about exercise meaningful to
patients to optimise symptom relief and enhance recovery.

This
research comes days after a study showing that overweight women have
worse outcomes from breast cancer than those of normal weight and run a
higher risk of relapse.

Their
results suggest that extra body fat causes hormonal changes and
inflammation that may drive some cases to spread and recur, despite
treatment.


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