In Australia there is a new cancer diagnosis every 4 minutes, which equates to about 140,000 new cases per year. Research indicates that smoking, obesity & age are the most common risk factors for contribution to cancer incidence. Physical inactivity, poor diet & viruses are also proven risk factors. As smoking and obesity are both modifiable risk factors, there are certain steps that can be taken to help minimise your chance of a cancer diagnosis.
A diagnosis of cancer can be a frightening prospect with the treatments for cancer often having significant side effects. Oncologists are more frequently referring patients onto allied health professionals that are specialised in oncology to help you manage your side effects and increase your quality of life throughout all stages of treatment and into survivorship through exercise intervention. There are many benefits to completing exercise both during & after treatment. Exercise has been shown to be one of the most effective treatments to help manage treatment side effects such as fatigue, managing mental health, increasing physical fitness and strength often lost during treatment, managing body composition through weight gain or weight loss, increasing bone strength & increasing heart health to just list a few benefits.
Exercise has also been shown to contribute to greater survival rates by reducing risk of cancer mortality by up to 28-41%, reducing the risk of recurrence by 21-24%, increasing your tolerance to treatments such as chemotherapy and even helping to decrease cancer growth.
Although there are many benefits to completing exercise post-cancer diagnosis, there are also precautions that need be considered when completing exercise. Therefore, it is advised to contact an appropriate allied health professional often via referral from an oncologist to help guide you through the most appropriate exercise for you.