A new medicine has been discovered that is proving to be extremely beneficial for cancer patients. This medicine reduces the fatigue, nausea and side effects associated with chemotherapy, and incredibly, targets the tumour itself. It also helps to improve a cancer survivor’s quality of life and health during and after treatment. So what is this incredible drug you ask?
Yes that’s right.
The ABC show, Catalyst, had a detailed segment last night on ground breaking research from Edith Cowan University in Perth. Targeted, specific exercise programs are proving to assist many aspects of cancer care.
The take home messages from the Catalyst show include:
- One out of two Australians will develop cancer by age 85.
- Research is showing that targeted, specific exercise is safe and beneficial for people undergoing treatment for cancer, with research at this stage predominantly in breast & prostate cancer patients
- Exercise has been shown to help improve quality of life & physical capacity during and after treatment
- A loss of 10-15% of muscle mass is typical over the course of chemotherapy. Targeted exercise training can prevent this loss of muscle mass & some research participants even improved their muscle mass during chemotherapy. This improves the likelihood of patients completing their chemotherapy.
- Exercise may be started during treatment, in contrast to the traditional advice of rest and inactivity.
- A landmark study at Edith Cowan University has shown benefits if cancer patients exercise on the same day as their chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
How does exercise effect cancer?
- There are several physiological mechanisms that are being investigated. Some of these include:
- Exercise increases blood flow around the body. This increased blood flow results in more cancer treatment chemicals that are delivered to the tumour.
- Exercise also boosts the body’s natural immune system, through multiple physiological processes, which improves the body’s own ability to fight cancer.
- Muscles produce chemicals that destroy tumour cells.
Final Points to consider:
- Exercise must be specific however, and tailored to the specific type of cancer. For example, men with prostate cancer benefited the most from a combination of resistance and jumping training, compared to aerobic training alone or resistance training alone. Bone density loss is a major side effect of some medications for prostate cancer, and this was prevented by the specific exercise program of combined jumping & resistance training.
- The researchers at ECU recommend Exercise Physiologists as the most appropriate exercise professionals to provide exercise guidance & to supervise participation
- Talk to your medical professionals before commencing any type of exercise program if you are undergoing treatment for cancer or if you have finished treatment
- Seek out an Accredited Exercise Physiologist if you wish to commence an exercise program to assist in cancer management
Performance Coaches Elizabeth Hewett and Steve Hissey are both graduates from Edith Cowan University. Liz is an Accredited Exercise Physiologist with a Master in Exercise Science (Strength & Conditioning) from ECU. To find out more on how you can manage and improve chronic disease and improve quality of life, come in and see us at Absolute.
Here is the link if you wish to watch the episode in full: http://iview.abc.net.au/programs/catalyst/SC1502H014S00