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Moderate exercise can help high-risk breast cancer patients heal: Study

Updated on:25 May 2020, 13:40pm IST
This research suggests that even little exercise helps women recuperate from the plethora of challenges that breast cancer brings.
Team Health Shots
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A little activity will go a long way. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

We all know that exercise helps prevent diseases but it also helps us recuperate from diseases.

A recent study suggests that even little exercise helps high-risk breast cancer patients. It not only helps them live longer but also makes them likely to remain cancer-free after their treatment.

A clinical trial run by the SWOG Cancer Research Network sought to understand the positive correlation between exercise and cancer survival.

breast cancer
Early detection through mammography can prevent breast disease. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

How did the study start?
The study included patients with stage II or III breast cancer, or high-risk stage I cancer, all of which have a higher rate of returning. It enrolled 2,716 patients out of which 1,607 consented to respond to the DELCaP questionnaire.

The questionnaire included questions about the study subjects’ habits, including exercise. They were asked about current habits, as well as routines prior to their breast cancer diagnosis. They were asked about the type of physical activity they did, for how long, and how often did they do it.

Their responses were recorded while undergoing chemotherapy, one year after their study treatment, and again two years after treatment making a total of four responses.

mammography and breast cancer
Get that yearly mammogram, ladies. Image Courtesy: Shutterstock

What is the positive correlation between exercise and cancer survival?
The study lead, Rikki Cannioto stated that “Our research shows that some physical activity is far better, in terms of cancer survival than no activity at all and it is just as beneficial as longer workouts.”

Under minimum federal exercise guidelines, two and a half hours a week of exercise have a big impact on women with high-risk breast cancer. It was found that exercising before and after treatment had a significantly reduced risk of their cancer returning by 55%. It also leads to a phenomenal 46% decreased chance of recurrence and a 43% reduced chance of dying.

Lead researcher, Cannioto stated, “What these results suggest for doctors – and patients – is that even a modest exercise routine, taken up after cancer treatment, can help women with high-risk breast cancer live longer and healthier lives.”

The takeaway?
Exercise plays a significant protective role in the treatment of high-risk breast cancer patients. Even a modest amount of exercise can be beneficial for someone trying to heal from breast cancer.

Even if you’re a healthy individual, let this study inspire you to start with just 20 minutes of exercise sessions.

(With inputs from ANI)

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