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Exercise can improve cancer patients’ outlook

Exercise can improve cancer patients’ outlook

Recent advances in technology have opened the door for cutting-edge cancer treatments, but as WHCU’s Pete Blanchard reports, sometimes simple exercise can have just as big of an impact on the prevention and treatment of cancer.

Doctors have known for decades that exercise improves physical health. Even more recent research has shown it to greatly improve mental health.

And those in the field of oncology say it can help with cancer treatment.

Dr. John Powell is a radiation oncologist at Cayuga Medical Center. He says even light, cardiovascular exercise—like walking on a treadmill—can improve a patient’s outlook on their health.

“The stress, worry, anxiety and fear that goes along with any serious diagnosis, it seems like regular exercise improves a patient’s outlook on their health,” Dr. Powell said. “The recovery process afterwards seems better for patients who exercise.”

Powell points to one study where researchers tested the fitness of patients during their mid-life, and followed them for decades to see which ones developed cancer. The results were surprising.

“Not only were those who were more fit when they were younger less likely to get cancer, the ones that did get cancer were less likely to die from the cancer than those that were less fit earlier on in life,” he said.

While it’s hard to find a direct cause-and-effect relationship between exercise and cancer, it seems to definitely improve your odds.

And as anyone who has had cancer or knows someone suffering from the disease, having a positive outlook can mean all the difference.

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