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Exercise Is Good For Cancer Patients



Exercise has a holistically positive effect on cancer patients, new research shows. In a report published online in the February issue of BMJ, results from an extensive study show that exercise improves cancer patients' quality of life.

Chinese and British medical researchers wanted to know the effect that exercise would have on adults who recently underwent cancer treatment. To get the answer, they conducted an extensive meta-analysis of Medline, CINAHL and another source to gather data on 34 randomized controlled trials of patients who completed their main cancer treatment (hormonal studies were excluded from the analysis).

Nearly two thirds of the trials involved breast cancer patients, although colorectal, endometrial and other types of cancer were also included in the study. On average, each trial lasted for about 13 weeks and consisted of approximately 93 people, between the ages of 39 -74. The cancer patients in each trial engaged in aerobic and strength training exercises.    


Exercises Improves Cancer Patients Health and Well-Being

Scientists collected useful information about exercise's effect on the well-being of cancer patients. Across the board, exercises improved the physical health and quality of life for cancer patients. For example, in those patients who completed cancer treatment, physical exercise had the following positive effects:

  • reduced body weight
  • lower body mass index
  • reduced insulin like growth factor - I
  • reduced fatigue
  • reduced depression
  • increased peak oxygen consumption
  • peak power output
  • distance walked in six minutes

The strength training exercises were also very beneficial to the patients' health. In fact, patients reportedly had greater grip, leg and upper body strength after participation in strength/resistance training activities.

Cardiovascular activities e.g. walking improves blood flow and oxygenation, these were readily observed in the above meta-analysis. As their health improves they'll have more energy and be less likely to tire. People who shy away from weight lifting should take note that such exercises yield long term benefits to cancer patients, helping them to regain physical strength.

"Physical activity has positive effects on physiology, body composition, physical functions, psychological outcomes, and quality of life in patients after treatment for breast cancer." Chinese and British researchers said in their report.

Moreover, "When patients with cancer other than breast cancer were also included, physical activity was associated with reduced BMI and body weight, increased oxygen consumption and peak power output and improved quality of life."

The results are encouraging for patients recovering from cancer. Physical exercises improves confidence and provides structure.

It makes sense that patients who participated in exercise were less depressed. People are more likely to have a positive outlook when they have something to look forward to. When you combine these with the physiological and physical improvements, it becomes hard to dismiss the benefits that exercise provides to cancer patients.


19 By standing firm you will gain life. Luke 21:19

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Article Source 

Fong, D., Ho, J., Hui, B., Lee, A., Macfarlane, D., Leung, S., Cerin, E., Chan, W., Leung, I., Lam, S., Taylor, A., & Cheng, K. (2012). Physical activity for cancer survivors: meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials BMJ, 344 (jan30 5) DOI: 10.1136/bmj.e70


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