Friday, November 18, 2011

Post from David Haas

Exercise Can Boost Cancer Patients' Quality of Life

Exercise has a key role in improving the quality of life of persons being treated for a variety of cancers.

Exercise lessens fatigue and improves physical functioning in those who are undergoing or who have completed cancer treatment.

These are among the findings of a panel of 13 researchers that was convened in 2009 by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) to develop exercise and physical activity guidelines for persons undergoing cancer treatment and those who have completed treatment.

The guidelines were published in the July 2010 edition of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, according to an article published in the June 29, 2010 edition of the
NCI Cancer Bulletin of the National Cancer Institute.

Improved body image and body composition are two other benefits of exercise highlighted in the guidelines. In the course of surgery and treatments, cancer patients undergo major changes in their appearance and how they feel about their appearance. Exercise can counteract some of these effects and help patients feel better about how they look.

Cancer patients should always talk with their physician before starting an exercise program. Some forms of cancer and types of treatment, for instance, may increase the risk of bone fractures or heart disease, so patients should adapt exercises accordingly to reduce their risk.

In the case of
mesothelioma, the majority of malignant tumors occur in the pleural lining of the lungs. For this reason it greatly limits an individual’s ability to breathe comfortably and without assistance. In such cases patients may be limited to less strenuous physical activity, such as physical therapy or short walks. Limited exercise, though may still contribute to improved morale and appetite.

Because of the perceived benefits of exercise for cancer patients, efforts are under way to develop certification programs for fitness professionals wanting to specialize in training for people who are undergoing or have completed cancer
treatment. For instance, the Lance Armstrong Foundation and the YMCA is preparing fitness professionals at YMCA’s across the country to provide cancer-specific fitness training.

Also the ACSM and the American Cancer Society (ACS) have created a certification program for trainers who want to work with cancer patients and survivors.