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The Power of Exercise in Cancer Prevention and Survival: What the Recent Studies Show

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Anthony Raphael
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The Power of Exercise in Cancer Prevention and Survival: What the Recent Studies Show

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With an estimated 19.3 million new cancer cases worldwide in 2020, cancer remains a significant health challenge. However, recent research suggests that we have a potent weapon against this disease at our disposal - regular physical exercise. A growing body of evidence emphasizes the role of exercise in reducing the risk of developing various types of cancer and improving the quality of life for cancer patients and survivors.

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The Protective Influence of Exercise

A recent large-scale study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology involved over 750,000 participants and revealed that regular physical exercise is linked to a lower risk of developing seven types of cancer. These include lung, kidney, colon, endometrial, breast, stomach, and bladder cancer. The findings spotlight the potential of exercise as a preventive measure against multiple forms of cancer, underlining the importance of incorporating physical activity into daily life.

Exercise Benefits for Cancer Survivors

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Exercise not only helps in cancer prevention but also offers significant benefits for cancer survivors. Regular physical activity can enhance the quality of life for cancer survivors and lower the risk of cancer recurrence. Specifically, exercises that are beneficial for cancer prevention include strength training and cardio activities.

Prescribed Exercise Regimes for Cancer Patients

The positive impact of exercise extends to individuals grappling with advanced stages of the disease. A study involving nearly 360 people with stage IV breast cancer found that a prescribed exercise regime helped relieve common treatment side effects, such as fatigue, nausea, pain, and shortness of breath. Participants who engaged in regular exercise reported less fatigue and a higher perception of overall quality of life. After six months, they showed a 13% higher resistance level on a stationary bike compared to those in the control group.

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Adopting a Healthy Lifestyle

In addition to regular exercise, other lifestyle choices can significantly affect cancer risk. A study by Newcastle University tested the 2018 cancer prevention recommendations by the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research. It found that a combination of exercise, a plant-based diet, avoiding alcohol, and maintaining a healthy weight can lower the risk of various cancers by up to 30 per cent.

Customized Exercise Interventions

Understanding the importance of exercise for cancer patients and survivors, researchers have developed questionnaires to explore knowledge, barriers, facilitators, and preferences to physical exercise. Such tools can guide healthcare professionals in designing tailored interventions to enhance the well-being of cancer survivors. They highlight the influence of sociocultural factors on physical fitness outcomes and emphasize the need for valid and reliable assessment tools.

In conclusion, exercise should be viewed as a powerful tool in the fight against cancer. Whether for prevention, during treatment, or in survivorship, regular physical activity offers numerous benefits. It is time to embrace exercise not just as a lifestyle choice but as a vital part of our cancer prevention and management strategy.

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