Cancer and its subsequent treatment can be a debilitating and physically demanding process. Whilst there have been many advances in the technology used to treat cancer, they all have less than desirable side effects that take a significant toll on the body.
A huge amount of research has and continues to be done on how cancer therapies can be altered to reduce the horrible side effects. Doctors are now able to use radiation in a way that specifically targets the cancer affected area and research is currently being done into utilising information about people’s genes and proteins to develop targeted chemotherapy (http://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/types/targeted-therapies/targeted-therapies-fact-sheet). Despite these advances in technology many cancer treatments still have considerable side effects, are uncomfortable and can also be painful.
However not all research is focused on technology and medication. Another area gaining a huge amount of momentum in the research world is exercise!
Exercise therapy has been shown to negate many of the undesirable effects of other cancer therapies and in many cases boost their effectiveness. Exercise improves:
- chemotherapy completion rates,
- cardiovascular fitness,
- immune function (which helps your body fight the cancer naturally),
- fluid removal,
- energy levels,
- body image and self-esteem
- and helps to prevent loss of muscle and bone density during treatment.
Recently, the ABC program Catalyst did an excellent segment on how a prescribed exercise plan can have amazing benefits of exercise for cancer patients – http://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/stories/4459555.htm. Exercise can help to reduce pain, fatigue, inflammation, severity of symptoms, nausea, depression and anxiety and the risk of getting many types of cancer in the first place. Exercise is a powerful medicine before, during and after other cancer treatments. With carefully monitored exercise there are virtually no side effects!
So… will any old exercise do?
The simple answer is that some exercise is better than none and more is generally better than less. In general, physical activity is likely to be beneficial for most cancer patients. BUT! There are still some safety considerations and exercise should start under the supervision of a qualified exercise professional.
An Accredited Exercise Physiologists (AEPs) is an expert in exercise prescription and understands the stresses placed on the body by cancer and its treatment. They will take into account your age, previous fitness activities, type of cancer, stage of treatment, type of therapy and any other conditions that you might have. They can provide expert advice about exercise and create a safe, effective program to your specific fitness levels and needs. AEPs can do all of this and more whether you are recently diagnosed, currently undergoing treatment or are post treatment. There are many good reasons to start an exercise program and very few reasons not to. So if you’re interested come down to Vibe Rehab and see the friendly team of AEPs today!