This following is a guest post by Melanie Bowen, an awareness advocate for the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance. While a lot of us may be focused our next training session or race, you never know when these words may come in handy for you, a loved one or a training buddy. Here’s her post:
Upon receiving a cancer diagnosis, many people feel that their fate lies solely in the hands of their doctors. Doctors play a crucial role in helping their patients survive cancer, but there are certain activities that patients can use to help give them the best odds possible. One of these activities, exercise, is proving to be tremendously helpful in preventing cancer and helping patients deal with treatment as well as possible. Here are some of the ways in which fitness and cancer interact.
It is not wholly understood why all cancers develop, but most experts now agree that it takes multiple factors to cause a case of cancer to occur. Some are speculating that physical fitness is effective at reducing precancerous growths, which can lead to the prevention of certain cases of cancer. While it is not known how many cases of cancer physical fitness actually helps prevent, it should be understood that even the healthiest people around can still develop cancer.
Preparation for cancer treatment
Those who have never been diagnosed with cancer or who have recently been diagnosed but have not yet commenced treatment, will want to view physical fitness as a means of preparing for cancer treatments. Chemotherapy often makes it difficult to eat, and many who undergo chemotherapy treatments lose a substantial amount of weight. Strength training and exercise can help people prepare for this possibility. If possible, those who been diagnosed with cancer may wish to gain a few pounds to help them fend off the weight loss that comes with particular chemotherapy treatments.
Recovering from cancer
After cancer has gone into remission, many people have difficulty regaining their energy level and strength. Physical fitness is the key for returning to one’s previous lifestyle. Cardiovascular exercise can help people increase their energy levels and it has also been shown to help their heart recover. Some weight training can help people recover lost strength, which can allow them to resume activities that they used to enjoy. Further, some believe that exercise can help fend off the reoccurrence of cancer in those who have fought their cancer into remission.
Whether diagnosed with mesothelioma, breast cancer or any other form of cancer, patients will want to consider physical fitness as a means of dealing with their cancer most effectively. While the road ahead will be difficult, some preparation and commitment to physical fitness can help ease the burden.