Benefits of Staying Fit Despite a Cancer Diagnosis
Learning that you can have cancer can be devastating. Even in cases where the overall prognosis is good, undergoing treatment and battling this vicious disease is a very scary experience for most patients. While there is no shortage of medicines and clinical trials designed to ease the symptoms and treat various forms of cancer, it is also important to maintain a healthy lifestyle during this time. For many patients and survivors, fitness is a key component in maintaining one’s physical and mental well-being.
According to the National Cancer Institute, physical activity is an important aspect of overall adult health. It has been linked to reduced risks of certain types of cancer including breast cancer, prostate cancer, endometrial cancer, colon cancer and lung cancer. In addition to reducing the risk of these particular diseases, regular physical activity as part of an overall fitness plan has been shown to increase the likelihood of surviving other forms of cancer including mesothelioma, breast cancer, and others.
Why Physical Fitness is Important for Cancer Patients
After receiving a cancer diagnosis and beginning treatment, most patients undergo a variety of physical changes. These often occur as the result of side effects caused by treatments and medication. In many cases, patients experience weight gain as the result of either treatment side effects or reduced physical activity. This extra weight can lead to fatigue, increased blood pressure, higher levels of sugar in the blood and a variety of other problems. Over time, patients may develop hypertension or diabetes, both of which can lead to severe complications.
Engaging in regular physical activity and staying fit, can help cancer patients experience an improved quality of life both during treatment and after. Studies have shown, that by simply engaging in moderate physical activity (roughly equivalent to three to five hours of walking each week), a patient can improve his or her chances of surviving a cancer diagnosis. Individuals who stay active both during and after a cancer diagnosis are also less likely to experience a recurrence of the disease.
In addition to increasing the odds of survival, physical activity has been proven to improve one’s overall psychological well-being. Radiation, chemotherapy and surgical procedures that may be required to treat cancer can make a patient feel like he or she has lost control of his or her own body. By proactively taking control of their physical fitness, however, they can regain that sense of control. This often helps to combat feelings of depression, stress, and anxiety. Exercise also causes the brain to release endorphins which act as natural “feel good” triggers that have been proven to improve one’s mood.
Over 11 million people have cancer in the United States alone. Whether you are newly diagnosed, in remission or even if you are looking for a way to reduce your risk of developing this disease, simply getting 30 minutes of exercise five days a week is an effective way of taking control of your health. Physical fitness is an important ally in the fight against cancer.
About the Author:
Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance
Stachtraining would like to invite you to check out David and the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance @ Mesothelioma.com also I would like to thank David and his alliance for contributing the article and look forward to working together in the future.