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Exercise could benefit chemotherapy patients

Exercise could benefit chemotherapy patients

Chemotherapy is carried out to help treat cancer, with the medicine injected into the body fighting against infected cells by damaging them so they can't spread, but it doesn't come without side effects.

It's an effective method to tackle cancer, though most medications used have a poisonous result on the body, triggering problems such as hair loss, sickness and constant tiredness and weakness. They will eventually ware off once things have wrapped, but in the meantime it's been found that exercise can make the process more bearable.

Researchers from the Netherlands Cancer Institute have discovered women with breast cancer who worked out while on chemotherapy felt less pain and had boosted energy levels and reduced sickness.

Dutch scientists looked at 230 breast cancer patients, dividing them into three groups. The first had a moderate intensity aerobics and strength exercise regime with a trained physiotherapist, while the second cluster had a low intensity plan to carry out at home with supervision from a nurse or nurse practitioner. Finally, the last group weren't given any exercises.

The women who worked out reported back that they experienced less fatigue, pain and nausea during a chemotherapy session, and the ladies with the moderate intensive plan saw the best benefits.

Results mean that chemotherapy sessions could be completed more, as some patients are unable to finish their treatments due to the severe side effects and have to have higher doses for the appointments they do attend.

Findings were published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, with researcher Neil Aaronson pointing out the results were very clear.

"In the past, patients who received chemotherapy were advised to take it slow. But actually, it is better for these patients to be as active as possible," he explained.

"Our study shows that even low intensity exercise has a positive effect on the side-effects of chemotherapy.

"Small amounts of exercise are already beneficial compared to being non-active, and this is good news for those who really don’t feel like going to the gym."

Although this is positive news for cancer sufferers who need to have the medicine, Neil stressed that exercise has yet to be linked to the success of the overall treatment.

"This doesn't necessarily mean that the outcome of their treatment will be more positive," he added.

"More research is needed into the relationship between the exact chemotherapy dosage received and long term survival and the chance of recurrence."

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