Prof. Kristin Campbell, left, provides tips on exercise to former cancer patient Scenery Slater, (Martin Dee/University of British Columbia)

Exercise can help with cancer and help prevent it, says panel

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An international panel of experts in cancer and rehabilitation has devised new guidelines to help people prevent cancer or recover from it and improve their survival.

“In terms of cancer treatment, we know that being active, in theory, has been safe. We’ve done a lot of research there and it’s beneficial,” says Kristin Campbell, associate professor of physical therapy at the University of British Columbia and the Canadian representative on the international panel.

Exercise said to reduce fatigue, anxiety, depression

“The research suggests that 30 minutes of aerobic activity, three days per week and two days a week of strength training can reduce cancer-related fatigue, improve feelings of anxiety and depression, improve your physical function and improve your overall quality of life.”

The panel suggests doctors work out an exercise plan with cancer patients as part of their overall recovery regimen. (iStock)

Exercise said to help prevent 7 cancers

The panel also found that 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity like brisk walking or running can reduce the risk of getting seven common cancers. They are colon, breast, endometrial, kidney, bladder, esophagus and stomach cancer. 

A new program has been devised to help health care providers ensure that people living with and beyond cancer are assessed and referred to appropriate exercise and rehabilitation as part of their overall care. 

The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology was one of the 17 groups on the panel which also included American Cancer Society, German Union for Health Exercise, Exercise and sport Science Australia among others.

Prof. Kristin Campbell explains what exercise can help prevent cancer or improve the lives of cancer survivors. (Martin Dee/University of British Columbia)
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