Exercise can help cancer patients bounce back to health faster, says study

The side effects from cancer and cancer treatment are proved to improve among cancer patients if they follow a defined exercise routine.
Cancer patients respond to treatment better when they exercise. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Shifa Khan Published on: 3 February 2022, 12:47 pm IST
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Exercise, even if it’s for 10 minutes, they say. The importance of maintaining a fitness routine is imperative to everyone’s health. But, did you know that low-intensity exercise can help cancer patients to recover from chemotherapy sooner and efficiently? Yes, it is true.

A recent study by Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS foundation trust has found that moderate and low impact exercise could improve the success of chemotherapy in patients with oesophageal cancer.

Link between exercise and cancer recovery

There were 40 patients involved in the research. They showed that exercise can be safely included as a part of cancer treatment and recovery. In this trial, patients were subjected to prehabilitation exercise. The cancer patients underwent a guided exercise session. During this, they were trained regularly before, during and after their treatment.

World Cancer Day is on February 4. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

As published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, moderate exercise was also sound to reduce some negative impacts of chemotherapy on the cancer patients. This means widening the chance of recovery after chemotherapy.

Just like many other cancers, chemotherapy is the standard treatment for oesophageal cancer. This may sometimes affect the oesophagus or commonly known as food pipe. Tiredness, sickness and risk of infection are few common aftereffects that patients deal with post their treatment.

The findings of the study:

The patients were then compared to other chemotherapy patients in the same age group but outside the training programme. The researchers studied the tumour reports, CT scans and immunity markers of all the patients.

The promising finding suggested that the cancer patients who did moderate exercise respond to chemotherapy better than the one who did not. Another great result was that their tumors underwent shrinkage which means they became less advanced.

Analysis of all the clinical data showed that more patients in the prehab group had their cancer down-staged. The patients who exercised also had:

* Greater skeletal muscle mass and less visceral fat

* They did not undergo any weight loss but had a stronger immune response

* Inflammatory chemicals in their blood dropped.

Including a physical activity during the cancer treatment improved the chances of recovery. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Mr Andrew Davies, consultant in upper gastro-intestinal surgery at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS foundation headed the study. He says, “While the limitations in patient numbers and non-randomised design mandate caution, the impact for patients is potentially significant.”

Therefore, don’t let this fatal disease come in between your hope for a healthy life. Stick to a fitness routine while undergoing your treatment and fight the cancer off like a champ!

A past study also indicated that regular exercise can slash you from the risk of seven types of cancer.

(With inputs from ANI)

About the Author
Shifa Khan

An aesthete and a skincare junkie, Shifa spends most of her time cooking delish food while wearing a sheet mask. At HealthShots, she creates high-octane content that can leave you all a little intrigued!

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