Fitness and Cancer

Today’s guest post is from David Haas:

I am a cancer patient advocate who has seen friends and family members struggle from all different types of cancers. I write and research in order to find information and share that information in order to help better people’s lives who are going through cancer.

Fitness and Cancer


It stands to reason that someone who has been recently diagnosed any kind of cancer including common cancers such as breast cancer and skin cancer and even rare cancers like mesothelioma wouldn’t want to spend a lot of time exercising. The shock of having been diagnosed with an often fatal disease combined with the sickness, pain and fatigue associated with said disease can all but destroy any motivation that one would have for remaining or becoming physically fit. Physical fitness is important for everybody, even those who are suffering from cancer. Recent studies have found that while a regular exercise regimen is by no means a miracle mesothelioma treatment or a cure for any other kind of cancer, it has helped aid the recovery and improved the prognosis of many cancer patients.

Two of the most common and debilitating side effects of most traditional cancer treatments are fatigue and loss of muscle strength. Cancer treatments such as chemotherapy tend to make patients feel very fatigued, so naturally they do not want to spend a lot of time doing much of anything, let alone engage in any kind of exercise. The muscle weakness commonly experienced by cancer patients naturally results from this fatigue. As they are deprived of exercise, these patients also miss out on some of the benefits that come from being physically fit including improved sleep patterns, increased energy, decreased depression and a generally improved sense of wellbeing. In other words, exercise can help a cancer patient or cancer survivor get his or her life back.

One form of exercise that many experts suggest for cancer patients is lightweight training. It’s already been established that many cancer treatments cause a weakness in the muscles, so a weight-training program has proven to be very beneficial for many patients undergoing chemotherapy or similar treatments. It is not recommended that anyone who is experiencing fatigue or muscle weakness attempt any rigorous weight training exercises, but there are plenty of light exercises that can be done that will still help to build lean muscle mass and improve the overall fitness of cancer survivors.

The American Cancer Society has become so convinced by the benefits of exercise for cancer patients that they have implemented moderate exercise programs for patients who have been newly diagnosed with cancer. These exercise programs can technically be considered palliative therapy, which means that while they will not cure or treat the cancer directly they will at least improve the symptoms of the disease or treatment.

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