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Exercise Impacts Tumor Growth and Helps Improve Immune Response against Cancer

Jan, 2021 - By WMR

Exercise Impacts Tumor Growth and Helps Improve Immune Response against Cancer

People who have cancer may be thinking about starting an exercise program for cancer management. Exercise has long been recommended for other conditions and is especially beneficial for cancer survivors. The science that supports this is based on the fact that exercise can increase your immune system's ability to fight infections and ward off any diseases you might get. Recently, in October of 2020, a group of researchers from Sweden, Italy, and United Kingdom, reported that exercise requires cytotoxic T cells to affect tumor growth. In a study on mice, the researchers demonstrated that exercise-induced reduction in tumor growth is dependent on CD8+ T cells, and that metabolites produced in skeletal muscle and excreted into plasma at high levels during exertion in both mice and humans enhance the effector profile of CD8+ T-cells.

There are several different ways to exercise to increase the benefits to your immune system. It all depends on how you choose to exercise and what type of exercise you do. Although there is some preliminary evidence that exercise for cancer management may aid cancer survivors, there is still no evidence that exercise actually helps cure cancer. However, current evidence suggests that the lack of motivation and ability to exercise, coupled with the repetitive and arduous nature of exercise, may be some of the most frequently reported challenges to regular exercise attendance. Cancer survivors may feel that continuing their usual activity is too much to deal with when they have to fight their cancer.

Exercise for cancer management can come in a variety of forms. Many cancer patients and their family members create exercise programs around a daily schedule that combines exercise with other lifestyle changes, like diet and stress management, and medication therapy. This type of exercise program often involves low-impact activities that are easy on the body. These activities keep cancer patients out of hospital and at home so they can focus on healing and improving their quality of life. Cancer survivors may want to look into a cancer exercise program that includes the combination of exercise and medicine therapy. In this case, the exercise program would include chemotherapy and/or radiation treatment.

In recent years, exercise for cancer management has come to include a component called resistance training. Resistance exercise aims to increase the strength of your muscles by using weight. The resistance level depends upon your current health, but even a simple, steady-state exercise routine can increase your muscle mass, leading to increased strength and mobility. Exercise can also increase your endurance, allowing you to exercise longer than you might otherwise. Resistance training can help to make your muscles more resistant to damage from cancer cells, reducing the risk of further cancer development after surgery or other treatments.

Exercise for cancer involves stretching and slow, steady increases in your speed and distance. You may be able to do these exercises on your own at home, at a gym, or in an outdoor park. There are a number of options available to you. Whether you want to do exercise to increase your strength, mobility, endurance or overall health, it is important to talk to your doctor to decide the best exercise program for you, taking into consideration your medical history and future cancer goals.

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