Exercise increases cancer survival

Exercise increases cancer survival

Exercise acts as a potent drug in the body, increasing oxygenation of the tissues, producing anti-inflammatory and stress- and depression-reducing hormones called endorphins and altering the gut microbiome to produce a wider diversity and more anti-inflammatory short-chain fatty acids, which boost immune response; not surprisingly research also shows exercise increases cancer survival.

Exercise is a powerful anti-cancer drug 

Exercise increases survival times and your odds of beating cancer. Taking 45 - 60 minutes light to moderate exercise just 3 days a week is a crucial part of the CANCERactive survival programme guidelines on diet and physical activity to increase your personal odds of beating cancer.

This is not just our view. In the USA, the American Cancer Society conducted a seven year research study on stage 3 cancer patients, all of whom had had chemo and surgery. Those who adhered most closely to the ACS guidelines on Diet and Exercise had 31% less cancer recurrence, and 42% less deaths across the research time period. Their guidelines are almost exactly those of CANCERactive.
 
Here are 10 scientifically proven benefits of exercise that particularly relate to people with cancer:

1. Exercise produces anti-cancer hormones in your body called endorphins, so called happy hormones. They have a drug-like effect, even at very low levels: 
              i) They can actually unblock silenced genes, thus reversing the loss of crucial health messages;
              ii) They can greatly reduce stress hormone, cortisol, levels. Cortisol has been shown to cause severe inflammation in the body linking to two cancer-causing genes; furthermore, cortisol helps cancer spread.

2. Exercise oxygenates the body and weakens cancer tumours - Cancer thrives in lowered oxygen conditions, so make sure your levels are good. And a 90 study meta-analysis has shown that oxygen pre-sensitises cancer cells so chemotherapy and radiotherapy are more effective - more cancer cells are killed if you can exercise before and during orthodox treatment; side-effects are reduced. A study by Arizona State Medical School showed that cycling for three hours prior to radiotherapy significantly improved results and reduced side-effects.

3. Exercise makes cancer tumours less aggressive - research from Kansas state shows that as well as pre-sensitising cancer cells with oxygen so more are killed during treatment, exercise actually makes tumours less aggressive. We know from a meta-analysis on Hyperbaric Oxygen that oxygenating the blood stream causes a state of Hyperoxia in cancer tumours and weakens them. 

4. Exercise reduces inflammation and increases immune response. Several research studies have also shown a surprising conclusion - that exercise alone changes your gut microbiome for better health - it increases the numbers of bacteria making Short-chain Fatty Acids, one (sodium butyrate) can even kill cancer cells in the colon while others are known to produce significant levels of anti-inflammatory molecules throughout the body; it is also know that exercise encourages certain gut bacteria to produce cytokines and can increase the immune response to infections (and cancer!)

5. Exercise reduces body fat levels - and many studies have now shown that higher levels of bad fat, and higher BMIs and linked to more cancer and more metastasis. 
               i) Cancer cells use fat to protect themselves. Some cancer cells use fat droplets to increase their ability to spread. Fat helps them hide from the immune system and makes them more aggressive; and high blood fat levels makes cancer more likely to spread. For example, men with high Triglyceride levels are more likely to see the return of their prostate cancer.
               ii) Extra body fat is linked with increasing levels of cancer-driving hormones like oestradiol and growth factors.
               iii) Body fat is a wonderful solvent. It will dissolve and hold all the toxic compounds and excess hormones you would rather have cleared from the body.
               iv) Exercise reduces visceral fat. This is the unseen fat that lies inside you and around your organs bathing them in toxins. The good news is that it starts to dissolve after about 12 minutes of exercise.
                v) Higher BMIs are known to encourage cancer cells to 'lock in' to the bone marrow in Multiple Myeloma, and exercise reduces this.
Go To: How much exercise reduces the risk of mortality in breast cancer, prostate cancer and colorectal cancer?

6. Exercise reduces blood glucose levels - People with the highest levels of blood glucose survive least. We have a whole article on the links between glucose and cancer. Exercise will control your blood sugar as well as any drug.

7. Exercise increases the strength of your heart, benefitting blood flow, nutrient delivery to tissues and toxin removal. It makes you more efficient.

8. Exercise improves your lymph flow. It stimulates the movement of your lymph and increases the movement of toxins away from your cells.

9. Exercise can strengthen your bones. Weight-bearing exercise is particularly relevant and beneficial to older people and people with cancers like multiple myeloma, or any cancer that might spread to the bones. Using weights helps increase bone density. In 2017, research from North Carolina School of Medicine showed that even aerobic exercise could strengthen bones by burning fat in the bone marrow and stimulating bone density.

10. Exercise reduces levels of depression in people with cancer. Depression can play a major part in cancer, not just because patients may feel they are doomed, or may feel all treatments are a waste of time. Depression can cause you to lose the fight! Doctors often prescribe drugs, but there is now a convincing body of evidence showing that exercise can reduce depression. For example, the Australian Hunt study, which followed over 36,000 people for 11 years, showed that just 1 hour of exercise per week had a major impact on reducing depression.

The bottom line: As Professor Robert Thomas in his article for CANCERactive says, exercise increases the chances of cure, just as much as chemotherapy!

Keep moving - get puffed!

The concept of vigorous, sweaty exercise is fast being replaced by a view that people touched by cancer are better to do LIGHT to MODERATE exercise almost every day. For example, a brisk walk for 40 minutes to 1 hour, where at some point you get puffed - you need to be slightly out of breath for about 20 minutes.

This moderate exercise takes oxygen to all the internal organs, whereas extreme exercise - going for a 5 mile run every day, marathons etc., sees the body demand the oxygen for brain, heart and muscles and often starve the organs. Equally, strenuous exercise produces more dangerous free radicals.

Tai Chi and yoga have been shown in research to produce the hormones (endorphins) that reduce cortisol. Meditation after exercise has been shown to produce hormones called opioids which are extremely health corrective. 

Keep moving. All the latest research shows that while an hour of exercise every morning is good news, sitting down for the rest of the day is bad for you.

Most importantly, the overwhelming volume of research on the benefits of exercise has been developed for people with cancer. The American Cancer Society in its review on Complementary Therapies in 2012 stated clearly that exercise could increase survival and even prevent a cancer returning.

Exercise is a powerful and corrective drug - Hormones, cytokines, oxygenation, tumour weakening, immune boosting exercise. What more could you want? 

                                * * * * * * * 

Here you can find three more helpful articles on the CANCERactive Website

Go to:
      *  Are you fit enough to beat cancer? - a simple article on exercise to get you started 
      *  Why is exercise good for us - an article by Professor Robert Thomas 
      *  A review of all the complementary cancer therapies you might consider.

                      CANCERactive - the appliance of Science

 

Exercise increases cancer survival
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