Exercise helps prolong life in cancer

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How sport helps cancer patients

Exercise helps cancer patients to significantly reduce the side effects of therapies. The German Cancer Society (DKG) reports on its internet portal about other positive effects of physical activity. Sport should also strengthen the performance and self-confidence of cancer patients and have a direct influence on the development of cancer and the course of the disease.

Sport can prevent cancer As the DKG informs, sport helps to prevent cancer. Accordingly, physical activity reduces the risk of developing a malignant tumor by 20 to 30 percent. The risk of relapse is also lower for cancer patients who regularly exercised before their illness. Those affected who have previously been unsporting can also benefit from physical activity, reports the company. On the one hand, the risk of relapse after a tumor is reduced, on the other hand, the chances of recovery also improve. The effect of sport can therefore have the same positive effects as that of chemotherapy or anti-hormone therapy. This has been proven by studies, especially for colon, prostate and breast cancer. The benefits of exercise have also been demonstrated for leukemia and other cancers.

Increasing the chances of cancer from healing with sport and cancer therapy "The biological mechanisms that explain why sport has a direct impact on cancer are still largely unknown," writes the DKG. This is mainly due to the fact that the growth processes of tumors are very complex. However, since sport affects the entire organism, it would obviously also influence the factors that are associated with the development of cancer. The tumor-specific effects of physical activity could be “the influence on sex hormones, antioxidant effects or an improvement in DNA repair mechanisms, as well as the reduction of insulin and the body's own messenger substances,” reports the company. Since sport stimulates the metabolism, the length of time that carcinogenic substances stay in the gastrointestinal tract is shortened. With breast cancer, which is dependent on hormones, physical activity leads to a reduction in the level of estrogen to a similar extent as medicinal anti-hormone therapy.

Dr. However, Freerk Baumann from the German Sport University Cologne expressly points out in an interview with the DKG that sport is not an alternative to medicinal cancer therapy. Rather, it makes sense to do sports in addition to other measures such as chemotherapy. Those affected should not overwhelm themselves physically, as this could even have negative effects on the disease. (ag)

Image: Stephanie Hofschlaeger / pixelio.de

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Video: A gentle yoga class for people with breast cancer


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