Is it Safe to Exercise during Cancer treatment?

Tuesday, July 10

My Patients often ask me if it safe to exercise whilst they are undergoing treatment for cancer, and many are surprised with I respond with a very ardent YES!  

Whilst the thought of engaging in exercise sounds awful when you are going through chemo or radiation therapy, recovering from surgery or just trying to process the massive life changing event that has been thrown in your path, it really is a good idea.

The American Cancer Society has recently released their Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer where they have reviewed over 300 studies that have been conducted recently on nutrition and physical activity for cancer survivors.

They surmise the following regarding individuals exercising whilst undergoing Cancer treatment:

Moderate exercise has been shown to improve fatigue, anxiety, and self esteem as well as cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength and body composition.

Some studies have also suggested that physical activity may even increase the the rate of completion of chemotherapy.

Patients receiving chemo and radiation therapy, who are already exercising may need to do so at lower intensity and/or shorter duration compared with individuals who are not receiving cancer treatment.

The principal goal should be to maintain activity as much as possible during treatment and increase the levels after the treatment has been completed.

I believe that the key to exercising whilst you are undergoing cancer treatment is to find an activity that suits your current level of physical ability, accommodates any side effects or pain that you are experiencing, and also suits your lifestyle.

If you are undergoing cancer treatment and unsure as to what you should or could be doing to optimise your physical health, contact a Physiotherapist who works with Oncology clients such as myself, or speak to your Doctor.

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