Activity Promotes Healthy Survivorship

From the Dana-Farber Cancer Inst.…

Exercise Promotes Healthy Survivorship
Studies suggest that cancer survivors who exercise regularly may feel better, have less fatigue, and experience fewer symptoms after treatment, compared to those who do not get regular exercise. Researchers at Dana-Farber continue to explore just how exercise can benefit cancer patients and survivors, including lowering the risk of a cancer recurrence, but the bottom line is: it helps. Even light activities, such as a daily walk, can provide benefits.

What You Can Do
The American Cancer Society recommends that cancer survivors get 30 to 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise at least five days each week. Here are some suggestions for fitting exercise into your day:
• Start a daily walking routine. Wear a pedometer, and try to go a bit farther each day.
• Walk or bike to your destination, when you can.
• Exercise with family, friends, or co-workers.
• Use a stationary bicycle or treadmill.
• Create your own wellness plan that includes exercise and a healthy diet.
• Explore additional ways to become more active. Dana-Farber offers many programs for cancer survivors to get and stay fit.

"Exercise is important for everyone, but there is evidence that shows it might be especially important for cancer survivors."
— Jennifer Ligibel, MD

From St. Judes Research Center…

Study shows childhood cancer survivors exercise less
In a new study of adults who survived cancer as children, St. Jude researchers have found that many survivors lead sedentary lifestyles and are more likely to be less physically active than their siblings. The study’s results appear in the May issue of the journal Cancer.

Childhood cancer survivors are at greater risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease than the rest of the population. Cancer treatments such as cranial radiation can damage the hypothalamus and pituitary; the result is an abnormal metabolism, which increases the risk of obesity and diabetes. Also, chemotherapy with the drug anthracycline increases the risk of heart disease; and radiation to the body can cause blood vessels to become less pliant.

“Physical activity is a key step that survivors can take to reduce the health risk of these effects,” said Kiri Ness, PhD, Epidemiology and Cancer Control, the study’s first author. “Medical center programs to encourage physical activity in adult survivors could help significantly. However, one problem is that researchers have not firmly established the factors that affect cancer survivors’ participation in physical activity.”