Exercise Can Be an Essential Component in Managing Treatment Side Effects for Cancer Patients
Exercise can be an essential component in managing treatment side effects for cancer patients. While it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional before starting an exercise regimen, when done correctly, exercise can offer numerous benefits for cancer patients during and after treatment. Here are some of the key benefits:
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Improved Physical Functioning: Regular exercise can help maintain and improve physical strength, endurance, flexibility, and balance, which may be affected by cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiation.
Reduced Fatigue: Cancer-related fatigue is a common side effect of cancer treatment. Exercise has been shown to alleviate fatigue and increase energy levels in cancer patients.
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Enhanced Emotional Well-being: Exercise can boost mood and reduce feelings of anxiety and depression, helping patients cope with the emotional challenges that often accompany a cancer diagnosis and treatment.
Weight Management: Some cancer treatments can lead to weight gain or loss. Regular exercise can help patients manage their weight and maintain a healthy body composition.
Cardiovascular Health: Cancer treatments, such as certain chemotherapy drugs, may have adverse effects on the heart. Exercise can support cardiovascular health, reducing the risk of heart-related complications.
Bone Health: Certain cancer treatments can weaken bones, increasing the risk of fractures. Weight-bearing exercises can help strengthen bones and reduce this risk.
Lymphedema Management: Exercise, particularly gentle movements, can help improve lymphatic flow and reduce the risk of developing or worsening lymphedema, a condition that causes swelling in the arms or legs.
Immune System Support: Some studies suggest that moderate exercise may enhance the immune system’s response and aid in the body’s ability to fight cancer and infections.
Social Support and Quality of Life: Group exercise classes or programs can provide social support and a sense of camaraderie among cancer patients, which can positively impact overall quality of life.
Treatment Adherence: Regular exercise has been associated with improved treatment adherence in cancer patients, ensuring that they stick to their prescribed treatment plans.
It’s important to note that the type and intensity of exercise recommended for cancer patients may vary depending on the individual’s condition, treatment plan, and overall health. It’s best to work with a CETI Cancer Exercise Specialist, to create a personalized exercise program that suits the patient’s needs and limitations. Always consult with your healthcare team before starting any new exercise regimen during cancer treatment.