Breast Cancer & Exercise | Online Exclusives, April 2012

Healing Movement

Fight cancer with physical activity

Breast Cancer HandbookFatigue and depression commonly accompany patients going through breast cancer treatments. For some, exercise is just what the doctor ordered.

Physical activity not only reduces fatigue and improves quality of life, it can also lower the risk of developing breast cancer, improve the survival rate among those diagnosed, reduce side effects and help prevent recurrence.

According to the American Cancer Society, one-third of all cancer deaths in the United States each year are linked to diet and physical activity, including being overweight.

Physical activity affects breast cancer patients by decreasing estrogen levels and modifying the insulin-like growth factor pathways, which have been implicated in breast cancer causation and propagation, explains St.Vincent Cancer Care Oncologist Dr. Ruemu Birhiray.

“Results from large studies of lifestyle and behavioral weight loss interventions have shown that modest weight loss improves insulin sensitivity and biomechanical measures of hormone metabolism, which have been postulated to contribute to the relationship between obesity and certain cancers,” Birhiray says.

Talk to your doctor about physical activity to tailor a program specific to your treatment. Here are some tips and suggestions from the American Cancer Society to lead a healthy lifestyle.

> Achieve and maintain a healthy weight throughout your life.
> Engage in 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity each week.
> For moderate intensity, try walking, dancing, canoeing, yoga or bicycling.
> For vigorous intensity, try jogging or running, aerobic dance, swimming or circuit weight training.
> Limit sedentary behavior such as sitting, lying down or watching television.
> Eat a healthy diet with an emphasis on plant foods.

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