Cancer. The word alone is scary enough. The National Cancer Institute reports lifetime risk of developing any type of cancer at the frightening high level of 39.6%. Four out of ten people will be diagnosis. Even worse, they calculate that there is only 66.5% of those individuals who will survive to the 5 year point. These statistics are all around terrifying, but emerging research is shining light onto an area of health often overlooked for these patients (and potentially future patients).
Physical activity. Yes, exercise is quickly gaining hoping as a way to not only help survival rate, but also to possibly even decrease risk of ever developing cancer. Furthermore, it also seems that those undergoing medical treatment can also decrease some of the negative consequences commonly experienced as side effects.
To elaborate on these statements I'd like to highlight some of the new studies I excitedly referenced earlier.
This study supports the value of exercise during the early stages of adjuvant treatment for breast cancer. The researchers say that a combination of strength and aerobic training not only reduces fatigue, but helps patients actually increase muscle fitness during the first 18 weeks of treatment.
The Washington Post published an article about studies such as this one about performing exercise before treatment for colorectal cancer. The results suggest that patients who performed the interventions before surgery did better in the long run.
This study suggests that overall quality of life in cancer survivors may be better in those who perform regular exercise.
Returning to the National Cancer Institute's website, will allow you to see more published data on just how effective exercise can be on a multitude of cancer types.
Finally, some of the most exciting up and coming research I've read is this. Now, I realize this initial study was performed on mice, but the results could be beginning of some amazing studies down the road. This study shows that those mice who performed aerobic exercise not only had slower breast cancer tumor growth, but it also made the cancer more sensitive to chemotherapy! These results raise the possibility that physical activity may not only slow tumor growth, but it may change the structure of these tumors to be easier to treat! If that's not exciting, I don't know what is.
Wishing you all good health.