Thursday, June 22, 2017

Exercise Cure: Working Out Cuts Cancer Risk in Half, Study Shows

A landmark new research project, analyzing the medical records of about 70,000 cancer patients, provides the strongest evidence yet that exercise slashes the risk of dying from the deadly disease. In fact, cancer patients who exercise regularly are almost half as likely as non-exercising peers to die from the life-threatening illness, the study reveals.

“Based on what scientific research tells us, if cancer patients exercise regularly they will significantly improve their health and well-being, potentially improving their longevity,” lead researcher Dr. Prue Cormie tells Newsmax Health. Cormie, a principal research fellow at the Australian Catholic University’s Institute for Health and Aging in Melbourne, Australia, conducted the study with Dr. Kathryn H. the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine. She says she hopes the findings, published in the journal Epidemiologic Reviews, “will help inspire people with cancer to start exercising” and encourage doctors to “prescribe” physical fitness the way they would medication to treat cancer. “The real novelty and impact of this work comes from the fact that it is the most comprehensive analysis of the available data,” she explains.

“This research has established exercise as an effective medicine that can be prescribed to counteract the adverse effects caused by cancer treatments and reduce the relative risk of cancer death or cancer recurrence.” Cormie adds that the research suggests it doesn’t matter what type of exercise people do. Walking and lifting weights have been shown to be particularly beneficial, but other forms of exercise are also beneficial. To reach their conclusions, Cormie’s medical scientists analysed 100 studies worldwide to confirm key findings showing death rates among cancer patients who exercise regularly plunged by almost half — up to 44 percent — compared with those who didn’t.

The researchers excluded studies that didn’t differentiate between deaths from cancer and other causes. They also took into account other factors that might contribute to the differences. In addition to cutting cancer deaths, exercise was linked with a lower risk — up to 35 percent — of cancers recurring. Physical activity also reduced the impacts of side effects from chemotherapy and other treatments. Cancer death risks were also “significantly lower” for those who engaged in the highest levels of exercise, compared to those who did were not as physically active.

“The findings of this review support the view that exercise is an important adjunct therapy in the management of cancer,” the researchers concluded. “Compared with patients who performed no exercise, patients who exercised following a diagnosis of cancer were observed to have a lower relative risk of cancer mortality and recurrence and experienced fewer adverse effects. Dr. Kathy Chapman, chairwoman of Cancer Council Australia’s nutrition and physical activity committee, suggests the landmark study should change the way doctors care for cancer patients. "This study confirms the importance of recommending exercise to people with cancer,” she says. "The evidence has been building over the past 10 years that exercise should be an adjunct to regular cancer treatment — especially for people with bowel, breast and prostate cancer.

People with cancer who incorporate exercise into their lifestyle have better overall survival rates and also experience better quality of life. Exercise has been shown to be beneficial in alleviating fatigue, a common side effect of cancer treatment.

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