It’s no secret that many cancer treatments cause negative side effects in the body. We are all familiar with them – fatigue, cardiotoxicity, reduced strength, range of motion, and muscle dexterity. These physical impairments affect more than 90% of all cancer patients, and can persist for years following initial treatment.
In one study that followed more than 2,000 breast cancer patients for 11 years after treatment, the list of physical impairments included such limitations as the inability to kneel, to lift items heavier than 10 pounds or to handle small objects, to stand in place, to sit for long periods, or to walk up and down a flight of stairs.
The significance of this is that research indicates that physical impairments negatively impact survival rates. In fact, in the study mentioned above, the authors found that the women with early stage breast cancer had a 260% higher risk of dying from a cause other than cancer (i.e. cardiovascular disease, diabetes, etc.) than those without a physical impairment.
The best way to avoid physical impairments during and following cancer treatment?
Even if you were completely sedentary prior to your diagnosis, you can still see protective effects of exercise once you begin. In fact, more than 85% of the patients we serve at Maple Tree (over 500 patients each week!) were sedentary before they were diagnosed with cancer.
For example, one of the patients we serve was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 81. She had never exercised before her diagnosis. Yet, when the fatigue and muscle weakness she experienced during treatment became almost unbearable, she joined Maple Tree.
Within a few weeks, she felt stronger.
Within a few months, she was cancer free.
Now, more than three years later, she still trains with us every single week.
She has nevermissed an appointment!
If this woman can begin an exercise program at the age of 81 and see benefits, so can you!
The unique thing about our exercise oncology program is that we meet you right where you are.We assess your strengths, weaknesses, and goals, and help you in a completely judgment-free zone.
Our own published research demonstrates that most of our patients get stronger, see improvements to their cardiovascular fitness, and increase their range of motion – even in the middle of cancer treatment!
You can too! Just take the first step and give exercise a try!