Cancer

Cycling to chemo: exercise during cancer treatment

Forget the anti-oxidant–rich red wine and chocolate. If you really want something that’s going to prevent cancer, start exercising. Not only does exercise help to prevent a raft of life-threatening conditions such obesity, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure, and play a role in keeping mental health in check by preventing depression and anxiety, but it can also be both a preventive and remedial factor in cancer.

Exercise can reduce the risk of developing a range of cancers including colon cancer, prostate, lung and gastrointestinal cancer in men, and breast and endometrial cancer in women. It can also improve long-term prognosis for cancer survivors.

There is now also emerging evidence that maintaining or commencing exercise as soon as you are diagnosed can be beneficial. This means that the common advice to take it easy and relax is actually completely wrong. Even while undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy, people should do as much exercise as they can to reduce symptoms like fatigue and improve physical fitness and functioning.

A few days ago, ABC Health & Wellbeing published a piece I wrote for them about exercise during cancer treatment. Check it out here.

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