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Exercise and sport in cancer

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Exercise and sport play an important role in cancer prevention. Studies show that people who exercise a lot have a lower risk of developing colon cancer. For post-menopausal breast cancer and uterine cancer, researchers also see a clear link between lack of physical activity and tumour incidence. Exercise could also have a risk-reducing effect on pre-menopausal breast cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer and ovarian cancer.

Exercise and sport are also important for people already suffering from cancer. Some consequences of disease and treatment can be reduced or avoided altogether through specific exercises. This includes, for example, the prevention of limited mobility, which many people experience after cancer and cancer-related therapies, or cancer-related fatigue. Research has shown that patients who exercise regularly tend to feel less exhausted and fatigued.

For many patients, physical activity adapted to the physical status and form of treatment can also have an overall positive impact on quality of life. Whether exercise or sports are suitable during or after cancer therapy should always be discussed with the attending physician, as there are no standard recommendations and the situation needs to be assessed individually. It is important to listen to one’s own body and focus on activities that add to one’s personal well-being.

Research is still out on the question of whether regular exercise can also minimize the risk of relapse and/or metastasis. However, some study results suggest that breast cancer patients at a later age, with considerable overweight and little or no exercise, seem to have an increased risk of tumour recurrence.