Exercising more after being diagnosed with breast cancer can reduce your risk of death, a study suggests.
Women who increased their activity to 150 minutes per week, the recommended amount, halved their risk of death.
Those who continued to comply with the guidelines for moderate exercise, including cycling or brisk walks, had a 30 percent lower risk.
Doctors now urge patients to remain active after diagnosis so that they have the best chance of surviving the deadly disease.
Scientists from the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg have tracked down more than 2,000 older women for ten years.
The study is considered one of the first to investigate whether exercise is beneficial for breast cancer patients.
Exercising more after being diagnosed with breast cancer can reduce your risk of death, a study in Germany suggests (stock)
It is known that fitter women are less likely to die if they get cancer.
But less research has been done into the effects of becoming physically fit after being diagnosed with breast cancer.
The new findings, published in the journal Breast Cancer Research, support the evidence.
Participants were 50 to 74 years old. At the end of the study there were 206 deaths, 114 of which were caused by breast cancer.
The results suggested that women who increased their activity level after diagnosis – instead of keeping it the same – reduced their risk of death the most.
And women who did not train before or after their diagnosis did not see their risk of dying declining, the team revealed.
In comparison with them, women who started exercising after their diagnosis reduced their risk of dying from breast cancer by 46 percent.
Women who were active before and after diagnosis reduced their chances of dying from breast cancer by 39 percent.
SHOULD CANCER PATIENTS DO?
Early evidence suggests that a pre-treatment exercise program helps patients tolerate difficult treatments and experience fewer complications.
There is stronger evidence to show that exercising during cancer treatment limits the dreaded side effects such as fatigue.
Studies show that conducting a training program upon completion of treatment leads to increased cardiorespiratory and muscle fitness, reduced fatigue and improved body composition and well-being results.
For patients under palliative care, preliminary evidence suggests that exercise is feasible and may help to maintain physical function, manage fatigue, and improve bone health.
Regular physical activity after a cancer diagnosis has been associated with longer survival and lower risk of recurrence or disease progression.
Despite the fact that most of the evidence is considered preliminary due to factors such as small investigations, there is a consensus among scientists that practicing before, during and after cancer treatment is generally feasible, safe and beneficial for most patients .
In October, an international panel of cancer experts made a number of recommendations for the use of physical activity after reviewing the scientific data.
Leaders from organizations such as the American Cancer Society and Macmillan Cancer Support said that exercise plans for cancer patients can increase chances of survival after being diagnosed with breast, colon or prostate cancer.
Source: Macmillan Cancer Support
The study did not look at the effects of exercise on men – but the researchers said it is unlikely that the benefits will only apply to women.
Dr. Audrey Jung, the corresponding author, said: & The results of our study suggest that there are physical benefits in leisure time in breast cancer patients.
The results only reflect the patients in the study who survived about six years after their diagnosis, the authors said.
They conclude that women should be encouraged to practice after being diagnosed with breast cancer, especially if they are not already sufficiently active.
Their findings contribute to a movement in the direction of & # 39; prescribing & # 39; of cancer patients with physical activity as part of the care.
Julia Frater, senior specialist in cancer information in the UK, said: “Exercise is safe for most cancer patients to participate.
& # 39; It can improve overall health, mood and well-being and there are new indications that in some cases it can help improve overall survival.
& # 39; But more research needs to be done into the types of exercises that are most useful and the circumstances in which it can make a difference to survival.
& # 39; Patients considering intensive exercise should first consult their physician in case there is a reason why they should avoid certain forms of exercise. & # 39;
Professor Anna Campbell, from Napier University in Edinburgh, has been working on physical activity and cancer survival for 20 years.
She said there are a number of potential mechanisms that make exercise beneficial, including boosting the immune system.
She told MailOnline: & # 39; Exercise can directly affect the tumor.
& # 39; We think it makes it possible for immune cells to infect the environment of the tumor, thereby altering the development of bad cells.
& # 39; Or exercise switches off some genes of the tumor. We do not yet have definitive proof.
& # 39; It is time to make sure that staying active after cancer diagnosis is a standard part of a cancer care package. & # 39;
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