Guest Blogger: Melanie Bowen on Exercise and Cancer

In a perfect world, each of us would be spared the difficulty and misery of cancer.  As I’ve briefly touched on, HERE, my family has been walloped by cancer’s sinister fury, time, and time, again.  Ideally, we should attempt to avoid cancer with preventative means.  Nutrition, exercise, and right psychological/spiritual practices can help. If, unfortunately, it becomes not a matter of prevention, but treatment, exercise is still a powerful ally.  Keep reading for more from our guest blogger, Melanie Bowen.

Exercise can be a vital aid during cancer treatment. As a result, physicians often recommend exercise to improve patients’ prognosis. Even walking three to five times per week can have several benefits for patients fighting various different cancers, from breast cancer to mesothelioma. Here, we discuss some reasons patients should exercise during cancer treatment.

Exercise Increases Survival Rates in Cancer Patients
Research indicates that exercise improves energy balance and reduces fatigue.  Studies also show that women who walked three to five hours per week at an average pace, after a cancer diagnosis, have greater survival rates than sedentary women. This is particularly true of women with hormone responsive tumors. Increasing exercise will manage insulin and leptin levels.

Cancer recurrences are also less likely in people who exercise more. When cancer patients recover from surgery and chemotherapy, they should exercise as much as possible within the boundaries set by their physician. Exercise before surgery can greatly assist the healing process, as it potentiates several immune factors.  A robust immune system is vital to quick recovery.

Exercise Improves the Psychological Welfare of Cancer Patients
Exercise releases feel-good endorphins and mood-boosting neurotransmitters. As a result, women who had been previously sedentary, were able to recover faster from early stage breast cancer when they were physically fit and in good spirits. Patients in a good mood tend to be more receptive to treatments and can take advantage of more natural procedures to aid recovery.

Exercise Improves Prognosis in Certain Special Populations
Studies have shown that by being more active, the risk of developing cancer can be reduced in vulnerable populations. These vulnerable populations include African American women, rural communities, obese people, cancer survivors, and working poor populations. People who are more active and eat a nutritious diet are less likely to develop cancer.

Exercise is Important in Any Cancer Regimen
Exercise should be a part of any cancer regimen. Patients should speak with their doctor to determine how much exercise is beneficial for their condition. During cancer treatment, such as chemotherapy, daily exercise can be difficult due to side effects like fatigue, but a good physician can provide guidance on when to resume.  If you are in treatment for cancer, talk about exercise with your doctor. It might make you heal faster, feel better, and prevent recurring episodes.

This is a guest post by Melanie Bowen, who blogs at

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One thought on “Guest Blogger: Melanie Bowen on Exercise and Cancer

  1. The term “physical activity and cancer” makes a lot of sense in this context and should not be overlooked. Make it fun and not a chore. At the same time, mindful exercise can provide additional benefits. You can increase the efficacy of gentle exercise by combining it with breathing, such as Qigong.

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