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Cancer

Physical activity is important and beneficial during all stages of your cancer journey (Macmillan 2012).

Prevention

Regular physical activity reduces the chance of you getting many common cancers; the largest reductions are seen in the most active individuals. Those with the best evidence are below (FYSS; SASA; WCRF)

Type of cancer Amount physical activity reduces your risk
Colon (bowel) 30-40%
Breast 25-40%
Womb 20-30%
Prostate Up to 50%
Oesophagus 21-32%
Stomach 13-28%

Treatment

If you have survived breast or bowel cancer, increasing the amount of physical activity you do compared to the amount you did before your diagnosis reduces your chance of dying from your cancer by 39% (Schmid 2013)

Physical activity has a beneficial effect on cancer pain, fatigue, sleep, sexuality, emotional well-being and self esteem (Fong 2012; Speck 2010).

If you are on chemotherapy, regular exercise helps you tolerate the drugs, feel less tired and improves your general quality of life (Cochrane 2012; Speck 2010)

You will also benefit if receiving palliative care: regular physical activity can help reduce fatigue, enable you to keep mobile and independent for longer and lessen symptoms such as shortness of breath and loss of appetite (Macmillan 2012).

Advice

Exercise daily; if your white counts are low try and exercise outside to avoid contact with other people

Avoid high intensity activities, particularly when on chemotherapy.

If your bones are involved, avoid high impact activities and activities that put you at risk of falling.

Make sure you are in a safe environment if you suffer from dizziness or nerve problems.

Further resources for Healthcare Professionals

Motivate to Move - Cancer
FYSS - Cancer