National Cancer Institute Guidelines for Exercise
In June 2010 a panel of thirteen researchers who are cancer experts came up with guidelines for exercise for cancer patients and survivors. The panel was formed to develop guidelines on exercise that were safe and effective. This is because there are currently over twelve million cancer survivors in the United States in need of advice!
Exercise is currently recommended for patients with breast, prostate, colon, gynecologic, and hematologic cancers, which pretty much covers all cancers.
The group was formed because the benefits of exercise were well documented for a number of cancers. In nearly all types of cancer, exercise was found to help with issues such as fatigue and physical functioning. These are factors that can directly influence the quality of your life. The guidelines wren also formed because it was discovered that patients on chemo or radiation could actually accomplish a lot more than anyone ever thought.
This panel also found that exercise was absolutely essential for a person’s self esteem. This is especially true with individuals who have had surgery that alters their appearance. Activity can improve the person’s body image. This is because changes in body composition are so typical with these types of cancers. Gastrointestinal, head and neck cancers can cause severe body wasting and exercise can help survivors of this type of wasting get their sense of self back and just feel more confident.
breast cancer can cause weight gain. In these cases the exercise can be useful for losing the pounds (sometimes caused by the drugs that are prescribed.) Breast cancer patients often need to build more body mass and lose some fat.
The idea that people undergoing chemo and radiation should be exercising rather than resting full time in bed is relatively new. At the NCI, which of course is a huge government operation, they are busy trying to figure out how physical activity can be integrated into cancer treatment and into the daily lives of survivors. Plans are also in the works for training professionals so that they can provide cancer-specific recovery. It is also being suggested that more exercise studios should be in hospitals and that mass workout sessions be part of oncology units. Investigations are also being made into the effectiveness of yoga and other gentler forms of exercise on cancer recovery.
There is no harm in making attempts to be fitter, whether that means taking a walk several times a week or going out to a gym to get some real training from a fitness professional. The idea is that once you do get our body in motion, you will start getting better; a fact that is being now well recognized by medical communities all over the world including the National Cancer Institute.