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More cancer patients need to learn the benefits of exercise

Category: Cancer Detection and Tumor Markers

People who screen positive for cancer in a lab test may undergo several different treatments, including chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery. Lifestyle modifications are also important for helping them feel better and prevent a recurrence of their disease. However, new research from the Mayo Clinic suggests that when it comes to exercise, not enough cancer patients are taking advantage of this regimen, nor are they discussing it with their oncologists.

Physical activity can support strength, alleviate fatigue, improve sleep quality and keep cancer patients from being isolated, according to the researchers. In their investigation, they found that it was common for patients to consider everyday activities, such as gardening, to be sufficient.

"There was a real sense of 'What I do every day, that's my exercise,'" said researcher Andrea Cheville, M.D. "Most were not aware that inactivity can contribute to weakening of the body and greater vulnerability to problems, including symptoms of cancer."

Other results showed that patients were more likely to exercise after their cancer diagnosis if they had made a habit of it before receiving the news.

A lab test for cancer markers is the first step toward an accurate diagnosis. From that point forward, patients need to make sure they discuss all their treatment options, including lifestyle modifications such as exercise, with their healthcare providers.

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