Cancer and Physical Activity

Cancer and Physical Activity

Staying Active

When you or someone you love has been diagnosed with cancer, the priority is to beat the disease and get healthy again.  Cancer in any form, is an attack on the body and its overall health.  And, to beat cancer, the treatments involved will often take a major toll on the body.  But, when a person is undergoing cancer treatment, life does not stop.  There are many important steps to take to help the body fight cancer and stay as healthy as possible.  During treatment, patients should eat a very healthy diet and, when allowed by their physician, can even continue a fitness regimen to keep their body in fighting shape.  Building those healthy habits of an active lifestyle are important and, once cancer is beaten, it is great to have an active foundation so that one can move forward in pursuit of a healthy , cancer-free lifestyle.  The National Cancer Institute discusses the importance of physical activity before, during and after cancer treatment, “The benefits of exercise are well documented in a number of cancers, Dr. Schmitz continued, namely in areas such as fatigue and physical functioning, both of which directly influence quality of life. While survival is the ultimate outcome measure, with an estimated 12 million cancer survivors and growing in the United States, the importance of improving quality of life has grown exponentially.  The evidence linking physical activity with improved quality of life in those undergoing active treatment and those who have completed it “is incredibly strong,” said Dr. Rachel Ballard-Barbash of NCI’s Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences… Overall, said Dr. Courneya during an education session on exercise and cancer at the recent ASCO annual meeting, “We’re finding that patients can do a lot more than we originally thought they could do, even when they’re on chemotherapy or radiation therapy.”  For those patients that are physically capable of activity and have been approved to do so from their physician, can strongly benefit from staying active.  An active body is a healthier body and not only will you be in better shape, your bodily systems will function better and your mood may even be improved by activity.  Staying active does not mean you have to put in an hour workout at the gym, you can do things you love and still be active.  Consider dancing with your spouse, going for a walk or going for a swim.  Maintain a healthy and active lifestyle during cancer treatment so your body will be in fighting shape to beat the disease.

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