Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Fighting Cancer with Fitness

As many of you may be aware October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is dedicated to increasing awareness of the importance of early breast cancer detection. In keeping with the theme of awareness of cancer, this blog post is dedicated to the awareness of cancer (of all kinds) and the positive effects exercise can have on cancer patients fighting this dreadful disease.

Through the power of the internet, my guest blogger, Liz Davies, and I "found" each other. She had come across my blog and asked if she could submit an article regarding the power of exercise and it's effect on cancer patients. This is near and dear to her heart, as it is mine, so of course I was thrilled to post it now. Our hope is that this message will reach many and especially those fighting this dreadful disease. 

 Fighting Cancer with Fitness

Unfortunately, many people in the world are faced with having to fight cancer. Cancer treatment might include chemotherapy, radiation, surgery or medications. These treatments could have side effects, such as fatigue, nausea, vomiting or constipation. Therefore, many people are now choosing to fight this horrible disease and its side effects with fitness.

People who have cancer feel that they just do not have the strength to do any sort of exercise. However, fitness can give individuals cardiovascular endurance and reduce anxiety. It can also help lower blood pressure, decrease depression and fight fatigue. Fitness can give cancer patients a feeling of control and self-esteem.

Cancer patients are told that it is a good idea to exercise about 150 minutes each week. Walking, swimming or jogging are examples of fitness activities that could help cancer patients. Stretching is also a good activity to do. In addition, studies are now showing that fitness can prevent cancer from returning, and it can possible stop the progression of the disease.

After being diagnosed with cancer, fitness can actually reduce the chance of dying from the disease. Furthermore, chemotherapy is hard on the immune system; therefore, exercise can help mend the immune system. Cancer has also been known to spread faster in people who over obese. Therefore, fitness also helps control weight, which might be associated with a more bleak diagnosis. One of the side effects of cancer treatments is the loss of bone and muscle mass. Exercise can help eliminate these effects. This is true for all types of cancer including breast cancer,pancreatic cancer , and even rare types like papillary mesothelioma.

In women, exercise decreases levels of hormones and insulin to avoid the development of breast cancer. In addition, fitness can help reduce the chances of colon cancer because exercise produces a general balance of energy. Because hormone metabolism and insulin are controlled by energy, the colon does not have as much exposure to carcinogens.

Many people worry about whether exercise is safe for cancer patients who are undergoing treatments. It is completely safe for individuals who are receiving cancer treatments to exercise. However, patients should not push or overexert themselves.

When someone is diagnosed with cancer, fear can creep in. Therefore, people need to have the strength to fight and to not give in to the disease. Exercise can help give cancer patients the perseverance that they will need to endure during this difficult time in their lives.

Liz Davies is a recent college graduate and aspiring writer especially interested in health and wellness. She became particularly interested in ways cancer patients can cope with the side-effects of their treatment after her mother became an oncology nurse for lung cancer.

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