Saturday, August 21, 2010

Exercise and the Cancer Patient – All You Need to Know

Another Guest Blogger Enjoy

It’s a horrible disease, one that makes you suffer even if lets you live. No one can claim to know what a cancer patient goes through unless they’ve had some form of this dreaded disease as well. The shock of the initial diagnosis, the pain of the chemotherapy and radiation therapy, the loss of dignity and control over your life, the fear of suffering and eventual death – the list of agonies goes on and on when it comes to cancer. Even survivors are battle-scarred – they’ve lost so much of their life and sometimes even lose the will to fight the disease even though they’re over the worst of it, simply because they feel too exhausted mentally and physically.

However, exercise helps make a significant difference in the lives of cancer patients; whether they’re part of the rehab procedure or a regular part of the survivor’s life, workout routines provide them with:

• An increase in strength: When you’ve been ill for a while, your muscles atrophy and your limbs and joints become stiff and clumsy. You find that you stumble when you walk and that even the most simple chores and activities are now strenuous exercises. When you exercise so that your muscles and joints become stronger and more nimble, you feel yourself returning to normal and feeling fine.

• A boost in confidence: Exercise boosts both physical and mental wellbeing; just the fact that you’re able to move your limbs and go through the workout routine your therapist had designed for you is a boost to your confidence because it proves that you’re fighting the disease with all you’ve got and not letting it get you down. When you’re mentally prepared to do all it takes to fight cancer, it makes a huge difference in your ability to recover.

• Lower complications: When you exercise, you reduce the side effects and complications caused by your illness. You don’t suffer from blood clots and bedsores because of being holed up in bed for too long, and your overall health improves even as you battle cancer.

• Overall improvement in health: Exercise helps you sleep better and sometimes even removes the need for pain medication. Your appetite improves and you’re able to eat nutritious food that boosts your heath. And you start to look and feel better as your energy levels go up and you feel stronger than before.

Your physiotherapist will probably give you a range of exercises to go through every day; based on the nature of your illness, it could be passive or intense. Some routines target your ROM (range of movement) – for example, if you’ve had breast cancer and had your lymph nodes removed as part of the surgery, your arms and shoulders are going to feel stiff and heavy. Your therapist will teach you the right exercises so that you’re able to use your arms again without feeling any pain.

Exercise has also proved beneficial in reducing your risk of a relapse – breast and colorectal cancer research has shown that survivors who exercise are less likely to be affected by the disease again. So if you’re affected by cancer and on your way to recovery, don’t forget to include exercise in your arsenal of weaponry when fighting the disease.

This guest post is contributed by Paul Hench, he writes on the topic of  masters in public health. He welcomes your comments at his email id:

1 comment:

  1. Exercise is such an important aspect of cancer treatment. There is an article on Cancer Support Community's site that I think corresponds well with everything you said: , it goes over how to customize your work out for where you are today.

    As always, please share any additional insights that have helped you through at

    Best wishes,