Exercise lowers cancer recurrence rates

Exercise lowers cancer recurrence rates


Ruth Bader Ginsburg (RBG), a US Supreme Court justice, died last week at age 87. Surprisingly, in her 80s, she become an icon for women of all ages, not only for her judicial prowess and fearlessness, but for her devotion to her exercise routine. She started a weight lifting program at age 66, to help recuperate after colon cancer surgery in 1999.

Breast cancer and exercise

RBG claimed her workouts helped her recover and survive the cancer, and she is probably correct. One large study, from Harvard Medical School, showed that after breast cancer surgery, women who exercised by walking at least 3 to 5 hours per week had a 40- 50% lower risk of cancer recurrence than women who were sedentary.

Colon cancer

Various studies on the type of cancer that affected RBG—colon cancer—have shown similar benefits. The studies strongly point to a lower risk of recurrence in people who exercised after their diagnosis. One study showed the more the exercise, the lower the recurrence rate. 

Prostate cancer

A study of 2705 men with non-metastatic prostate cancer showed that the men who exercised by biking, jogging, or swimming for three or more hours per week had a 61% lower risk of prostate cancer-related death compared with men who did not exercise. It is believed that exercise lowers cancer recurrence and death by modifying hormone levels, and perhaps by improving the mental outlook of the exercise practitioners. 

RBG exercise program

RBG worked out for 20 years, with the same trainer, twice per week. She became famous for her workout, and at 84, she and her trainer published a bestselling book “The RBG Workout”. Her basic workout starts with 5-minutes of warm-up and light stretching, then moves to strength training including pushups (2 sets of 10 each), planks (30 seconds or more), chest presses, squats, hip abductor exercise, then a cool down period with more stretching.

RBG was cured of her original colon cancer, but 10 years later developed one of the worst forms of cancer, pancreatic cancer. This cancer has a poor outlook, and few people survive even a few years after diagnosis. RBG’s tumor though was discovered early, and following surgery and chemotherapy, and later radiation, she survived an amazing 11 years after her original diagnosis. She attributed her longevity to her devotion to her training.

Of course, we don’t know if RBG’s lifespan would have been shorter if she was not such an exercise fanatic, but multiple studies all points to the positive effects of exercise to help people recovering from cancer. Those who exercise at least 3 times to 5 times per week, for an hour at a time, have fewer cancer recurrences and a longer lifespan. The exercise could consist of moderate-paced walking, but mixing in at least some weight training likely will give even more benefits. 

To find a doctor, of any specialty, anywhere in Brazil, check out our website: www.ProcuraMed.com.

See also in ProcuraMed:

How statin medication can help protect you from severe COVID

How to ensure that walking will be easy for you in your 80s 

Esta postagem também está disponível em: Portuguese (Brazil)

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