Penn State University professor says there needs to be a paradigm shift when it comes to the relationship between cancer and exercise. New guidelines urge physicians to "prescribe" exercise to reduce the risk of cancer and improve treatment outcomes.
“Today if you asked someone with a dad with colon cancer if he should be exercising they’d probably either say no or they don’t know,” PSU professor Kathryn Schmitz told a news portal.
Schmitz and experts from 15 groups, incl
uding the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Cancer Society put forth the guidelines to make people more aware of how important exercise is to tackle the disease.
According to the new guidelines, cancer patients should do at least do 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity thrice a week. They should also do strength training three times a week. “We don’t know the exact, optimal dose of exercise needed for cancer prevention,” Alpa Patel, the American Cancer Society’s senior scientific director for epidemiology research, told a news portal. Adding, “But we know from the evidence to date that the more you do the better.”
There are many reasons why exercise could prevent the disease, explains lead author of the paper Patel. Here are some effects of exercise that could reduce your risk of cancer:
* May help to manage blood sugar levels
* May help to manage sex hormones
* Improves metabolism
* Improves immune function
“Depending on the specific cancer, one or more of those mechanisms may be more important than the others,” Patel told a news portal. Adding “So, for breast cancer, the benefits of exercise are really driven through the impact on sex hormones.”
“It can also affect cancer development or risk through reducing obesity, a risk factor for many cancers,” Dr Crystal Denlinger, an oncologist at the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, told a news portal.
However, more research is needed to understand why physical activity affects cancer. Denlinger told a news portal “at this time, there is no one ‘best’ exercise — anything that gets you moving and active is good.”
Another reason to incorporate exercise into your lifestyle is that it is a cheap and inexpensive way to protect yourself from the disease. “This is an easy, cheap way to give patients less fatigue and a better quality of life,” she said.
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