Cancer is a diverse group of several hundred diseases in which some of the body’s cells become abnormal and begin to multiply out of control causing damage to the tissue around them.
It is estimated there will be 138, 321 new cancer cases diagnosed in Australia this year, with the number of deaths estimated to top 48, 586.
Exercise is now being recognized as a treatment for cancer and research suggests that for breast cancer the risk of death can be decreased by 20- 50% if physically active.
Exercise can also have a positive impact on the adverse effects of cancer treatment such as:
- Neurological changes
- Cardiovascular changes.
Before commencing an exercise program it is important to have a thorough assessment from an Accredited Exercise Physiologist.
An observational study in 2005 by Holmes et al sought to determine whether physical activity among women with breast cancer decreases their risk of death compared to sedentary women. They concluded that physical activity after a breast cancer diagnosis may reduce the risk of death by up to 50%. They found that the greatest benefit occurred in women who performed the equivalent walking of 3- 5 hours per week at an average pace.
Another finding of this study showed being physically active could reduce risk of breast cancer recurrence by 17- 43%. The potential mechanisms by which physical activity works to increase breast cancer survival include:
- Lower levels of circulating ovarian hormones
- Lower estrogen levels
- Weight management.
Recently the Clinical Oncology Society of Australia prepared the Exercise in Cancer Care paper whereby they called for:
- Exercise to be embedded as part of standard practice in cancer care
- All members of the multidisciplinary cancer team to promote physical activity
- Best practice cancer care to include referral to an Accredited Exercise Physiologist.
If you know anyone who is commencing their cancer journey or is recovering from their treatment please encourage them to stay physically active- the evidence to do so is overwhelming!
Visit - Cancer and Exercise Statistics