October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month
by your HeartCORE Coach, Kristen
One of the most commonly diagnosed types of cancer in women is breast cancer. Studies show that physical activity can have a positive effect on every aspect of breast cancer evolution, including prevention, treatment, and aftercare.
Disease prevention: Various types of exercise can influence the prevention and overall progression of breast cancer through several common mechanisms, such as reduction of insulin resistance and improvement of immunity and cardiovascular function. Research indicates that regular exercise can also have a positive effect on both acute and chronic symptoms, such as the loss of muscle mass, fatigue, weight gain, and overall quality of life.
Disease management: The American Cancer Society recommends that women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer get 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity physical activity, as well as two strength training sessions per week in order to improve their overall quality of life and reduce the risk of developing new cancers. In the last decade, the global occurrence of breast cancer has seen an increase, whereas the overall mortality rate has decreased. This means that although more people are being diagnosed with breast cancer, more people are living longer after their diagnosis. Research shows that exercise lowers levels of insulin and a hormone-like substance called insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1). High levels of these are linked to breast cancer. It has also been found that women who take part in exercise after breast cancer are more likely to lose weight and overall body fat.
Breast cancer patients undergo surgery, and many receive radiation as well as chemotherapy and are also prescribed with hormonal therapies. These treatments can result in changes such as increased risks of cardiovascular outcomes, decreased bone density, overall deconditioning, weight gain, and immune suppression. When it comes to exercise, starting anywhere is better than nothing and following.
Post-disease:Sometimes women are prescribed hormone therapy following breast cancer to reduce the risk of recurrence. However, women taking this type of medication often stop taking it due to the joint pain that they experience. Another benefit of exercise in disease management is that exercise can help to reduce that pain. This is important because exercise can lead to a better quality of life and a higher adherence to the medication, which in turn can improve their overall prognosis.
During a prolonged illness one often experiences a period of inactivity due to prescribed bed rest or other factors. This can result in a loss of muscle mass, overall function, and range of motion. Even if someone has not been active during their treatment, they can still reap the benefits of exercise post-disease. It’s never too late to start!
It is important that prior to beginning a new exercise program you speak to your doctor or surgeon to ensure it is safe.
Speak to your HeartCORE Coach about options we can provide to help you through all stages of life and wellness.
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