cancer survivor

Why Cancer Survivors Should Exercise and Maintain a Healthy Weight

Due to advancements in the detection and treatment of cancer, more and more people are surviving the big C. In the U.S., more than 13 million cancer survivors are surviving. Surviving cancer is no simple feat. It is an exceptional achievement that sadly is not reached by every cancer patient. However, your battle with cancer does not stop there.

Cancer is a chronic disease. It, therefore, requires lifetime care and medical attention. It can limit activities of daily living, and cancer survivors should always be on the lookout for risk factors that increase the chances of recurring cancer.

A cancer survivor has needs that should be met to ensure a lifetime of wellness. For one, a cancer diagnosis can cause grave psychological stress to the patient. No one is ever ready for a cancer diagnosis. It can pull the rug off anyone’s feet and change your world in an instant. Some cancer patients develop depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Cancer treatment may also include removing a body part, which can affect the patient’s physical function.

One thing that cancer survivors must watch out for is maintaining their ideal weight. Maintaining your ideal weight is important even if you were not diagnosed with cancer. It reduces your risks of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and heart diseases. If you are a cancer survivor, a healthy weight can affect the success of your treatment.

The Relation Between Obesity and Cancer

Studies show that cancer is one of the more serious consequences of excess weight and obesity. A high BMI is a risk factor for cancer. Obesity also reduces the effectiveness of cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy. It even lowers the patient’s chances of getting the services of a hospice nurse. That’s because a higher BMI reduces a patient’s chances of having a comfortable and quiet death.

Maintaining a healthy weight, for instance, is important for breast cancer survivors. Each 5-kg increase in the weight of a breast cancer patient increases the risk of breast cancer-related mortality by 13%. Therefore, a healthy weight gives the patient better chances of survival and a better response to different cancer treatment modalities.

Being physically active reduces the risk of cancer returning. It also reduces your risk of developing new cancer. Being active reduces your risk for the following types of cancer:

  • Bladder cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Colon cancer
  • Endometrial cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Stomach cancer

The reason for this is that physical activity results in beneficial effects on your body. Here are just some effects of exercising that can help your chances in defeating and avoiding cancer altogether.

  • It prevents high blood levels of insulin, which facilitates the growth of cancer cells.
  • It reduces inflammation in the body.
  • It lowers sex hormones that can also facilitate the development of cancer.
  • It improves your immune system.
  • It helps in the prevention of colon cancer by modifying your bile acid’s metabolism.
  • It helps prevent the development of a comorbid illness.


What Exercises Are Safe After a Cancer Treatment

How long the side effects of cancer treatment lasts depends on the unique situation of each patient. Remember to take it slow. What may seem like a low-intensity exercise for you before may now feel like a high-intensity exercise. If you are unsure, you can always consult your medical practitioner on what physical activities are safe for you. Over time, you can slowly increase the intensity and the duration of your exercises.

The American Cancer Society recommends that cancer survivors should avoid inactivity and a sedentary lifestyle. You should aim for at least 150 minutes of physical exercise every week. Exercising improves your overall health, such as your cardiovascular and respiratory health. It even improves your mood and helps prevent depression.

Aside from physical activity, cancer survivors should also watch out for what they eat. Limit high-calorie foods, as well as sugar-laden drinks. Whether you need to increase or lose weight to maintain a healthy number, you should always keep proper nutrition in mind.

Precautions Before You Put on Your Training Shoes

Before you begin an exercise regimen, always consult with your doctor. If you have undergone operations and treatment procedures that affected your lungs or heart, you need to check first what you can and can’t do.

For instance, you should not be exercising if you have anemia. If you have low white blood cells, you should also avoid public places until your WBC levels return to normal. If your blood has abnormal mineral levels, you should also avoid physical exertion.

Before you start any exercise program, talk to your doctor. He can help you come up with a safe program if your condition allows you to exercise.

You can keep things simple by adding physical activities to your daily routine. You can take a relaxing walk every morning to get some sun. You can weed or clean your yard. If you have a controllable dog, you can take it for a walk. Just make sure not to overdo yourself for your safety.

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