Exercise can cut risk of cancer returning

August 8th, 2011 - 10:31 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Aug 8 (IANS) Regular exercise can cut by 40 percent the risk of cancer returning, say experts. Breast cancer patients who work out have more than a 40 percent lower risk of dying while prostate cancer patients 30 percent.

Exercise acts like a ­wonder “drug” for survivors of some forms of the disease, according to Macmillan ­Cancer Support.

Physical activity should be ­”prescribed” by doctors after it was found not only to significantly help recovery but also prevent other long-term illnesses, the express.co.uk reported quoting the British ­charity Monday.

Some cancers have high cure rates but others can return years after they were first treated.

Rather than patients being told to “rest up”, doctors should encourage them to get moving as soon as they feel able, researchers believe.

A review of more than 60 studies for Macmillan found that being active did not worsen people’s fatigue but had positive effects on their mood and well-being.

Once treatment has finished, exercise can reduce the impact of side-effects, such as swelling, anxiety, depression, fatigue, impaired mobility and changes to weight.

Women with breast cancer who exercise for two-and-a-half hours a week at moderate intensity have more than a 40 percent lower risk of dying and the disease returning compared with those who do less than one hour of activity a week, researchers said.

Prostate cancer patients have a 30 percent lower risk of dying from the disease and a 57 percent lower rate of disease progression if they exercise for three hours weekly.

Oncologist Jane Maher, chief medical officer of Macmillan, said: “The advice I would have given previously to my patients would have been to take it easy.

“This has now changed significantly because of the recognition that if physical exercise were a drug, it would be hitting the headlines.”

“There really needs to be a cultural change, so that health professionals see physical activity as an integral part of cancer aftercare, not just an optional add-on,” Express quoted her as saying.

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