Cancer is the second leading cause of death globally and is responsible for an estimated 9.6 million deaths in 2018. Globally, about 1 in 6 deaths is due to cancer. Treatments for cancer typically include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and hormone therapies. The effects of these treatments commonly cause many patients to develop unwanted side effects which can lead to significant negative impacts on quality of life. These side effects commonly include fatigue, nausea, pain, restricted range of motion, loss of muscle strength, reduced physical fitness, sleep loss, anxiety and depression.
Research shows that remaining physically active is a very important component in your recovery from cancer and overcoming the effects of its treatment. Physical activity improves both emotional and physical functioning of cancer patients. Exercise during cancer treatment is associated with a decrease in cancer and treatment-induced symptoms such as nausea, fatigue, and pain. Exercise has also been shown to improve strength, fitness, physical function, range of motion and immune function. Psychological side effects such as low self-esteem, anxiety and depression, have also been shown to improve with exercise.
Exercise after cancer treatment is also an important factor in regaining quality of life. A 2017 review of over 100 research studies showed that:
- Exercise after a cancer diagnosis is associated with a reduction in cancer-related death by up to 44%
- Exercise may also reduce the risk of cancer recurrence by up to 35%
- Exercise is the number one treatment for the most common and debilitating side effects of cancer
It is important to start with short sessions of exercise e.g. 10-15 minutes, twice a day, 4-5 day a week. As cancer and its effects is unique to each person, an exercise programme should be completely individualised. Current guidelines suggest 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise and 2-3 sessions of resistance training per week. The type, intensity and duration of activity should be prescribed by a cancer rehab health professional to safely and effectively manage your return to fitness. Exercise is a priority, but it needs to invigorate you, not wear you out.
Here at Bodybalance Physiotherapy, Rachel has trained under the PINC Cancer Rehabilitation programme to provide individualised and tailored exercise programmes to all cancer patients at any stage of treatment. By completing a thorough assessment and taking into consideration the type of cancer and areas affected we work to regain your confidence in exercising and provide support along the way.
If you feel this may benefit you or someone you know, please contact us at 0863862001 for more details.