How Can Physical Activity Aid in Reducing the Recurrence of Cancer in Survivors?

How Can Physical Activity Aid in Reducing the Recurrence of Cancer in Survivors

Physical activity can play a crucial role in reducing the recurrence of cancer in survivors. Numerous studies have shown that regular exercise can have significant benefits for cancer survivors, both during and after treatment. Here are some ways in which physical activity can aid in reducing cancer recurrence:

Lower inflammation levels: Chronic inflammation is linked to cancer development and recurrence. Exercise has been shown to reduce inflammation markers in the body, which can help create a less favorable environment for cancer growth.

Immune system support: Regular physical activity can enhance the immune system’s function, helping the body to better identify and eliminate cancer cells. A strong immune system is crucial for preventing cancer cells from growing and spreading.

Hormonal balance: Some types of cancer are hormone-related, and physical activity can help regulate hormone levels. For example, in breast cancer survivors, exercise has been associated with lower levels of estrogen, which can reduce the risk of breast cancer recurrence in hormone receptor-positive cases.


Improved cardiovascular health: Cancer treatments can sometimes have adverse effects on the cardiovascular system. Engaging in regular physical activity can improve heart health and overall circulation, which is vital for cancer survivors’ long-term well-being.

Weight management: Maintaining a healthy weight is essential for cancer survivors, as obesity is associated with a higher risk of cancer recurrence and mortality. Physical activity can help with weight management, reducing the risk of cancer returning.

Insulin sensitivity: Regular exercise improves insulin sensitivity, reducing insulin resistance and the levels of insulin in the body. Lower insulin levels may be beneficial for certain cancer survivors, as high insulin levels have been associated with cancer growth and recurrence.

Mental health and stress reduction: Cancer survivors often experience high levels of stress and anxiety, which can have negative impacts on their overall health. Physical activity can help alleviate stress, improve mood, and enhance overall well-being, which may indirectly support the body’s ability to fight cancer.

Lymphatic system function: The lymphatic system plays a role in immune function and waste removal. Physical activity can improve lymphatic circulation, assisting in the removal of toxins and waste products from the body.


It’s essential for cancer survivors to discuss their exercise plans with their healthcare team, as individual factors and cancer types may require personalized exercise recommendations. The type, intensity, and duration of exercise should be tailored to the survivor’s physical condition and specific cancer treatment history. In most cases, starting with moderate-intensity activities like walking, swimming, or cycling and gradually increasing the intensity and duration is recommended.

Remember, physical activity is just one aspect of a comprehensive approach to reducing cancer recurrence. Adopting a healthy lifestyle that includes a balanced diet, stress management, and regular medical follow-ups is also crucial for overall well-being and reducing the risk of cancer returning.