Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer affecting women. Historically, patients were told to rest while undertaking cancer treatment such as chemotherapy and radiation. Research now supports the opposite and we understand that exercise is an essential part of treatment alongside chemotherapy, radiation and hormone therapy.
There are many benefits of exercising before, during and after treatment:
- Improved energy levels and decreased fatigue.
- Improved mental health and clarity.
- Improved bone and muscular strength.
- Potential improvements with neuropathy symptoms.
- Provide a sense of normality into ones life.
- Social connection in a group environment.
- Improved cardiovascular health and capacity.
- A focus on rehabilitation before and after surgery.
Associate Professor Prue Cormie puts it perfectly:
“If the effects of exercise could be encapsulated in a pill, it would be prescribed to every cancer patient worldwide and viewed as a major breakthrough in cancer treatment. If we had a pill called exercise it would be demanded by cancer patients, prescribed by every cancer specialist, and subsidised by government.” (theconversation.com)
Who is best placed to prescribe exercise?
An Exercise Physiologist is a University-qualified Allied Health professional. Exercise Physiologists are perfectly placed to help those with cancer complete regular exercise appropriate to the individual.
Exercise Physiologists can prescribe appropriate exercise, just as doctors can prescribe medication. The exercises prescribed should take into account many factors such as abilities, treatment, whether surgery has been performed, and any medication the patient is taking.
How much should you be doing?
Every little bit of exercise can help as you go through treatment, even a walk to your letter box and back. Each day should be dictated by your symptoms but it is important to remain as physically active as possible through treatment, and complete a mix of aerobic, strength and flexibility training into your program.
To get started, speak with your Doctor or Oncologist about how exercise may benefit you!