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Physical Activity and
Its Effect on Cancer

A pair of blue, 10-pound dumbbells

It is estimated that in the United States today, over two-thirds of adults are overweight or obese. In addition to increasing the risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes, it has also been shown that being overweight or obese and raise your risk for developing certain types of cancer including Breast, Colorectal, Endometrium (lining of the uterus), Esophogeal, Gallbladder, Head and Neck, Kidney, Pancreatic, Prostate, Thyroid and Uterine.

For most adults, the recommendation is to get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each week. Many people who are not currently active may find this difficult, but even making small changes to your activity level will have positive benefits on your health and will begin to help lower your risk of developing cancer. If you’re not currently active, it’s important to discuss with your physician before starting any exercise program.

What if I already have cancer?
Can physical activity make a difference?

Patients who have cancer can benefit from being physically active. An aerobic workout is important to help to maintain or improve cardiovascular fitness. Strength training that helps to build and tone muscles, can help a person stay stronger, and proper stretching can help to keep joints and muscles more limber, which can reduce pain and mobility issues.

Moderate exercise can help to boost energy levels, minimizing common side effects such as fatigue and feelings of anxiety or depression. Overall patients experience an improved quality of life with regular exercise.

Your oncologist can advise you on what level of physical activity is appropriate, based on your overall health, status of your cancer, and the type of treatment you are undergoing.

Helpful Resources include: