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Physical Activity and Cancer

“The greatest wealth is our health.”

Would you be more active if you knew it could help you to live longer? A recent study found that people who engaged in leisure-time physical activity lowered the risk of premature mortality and increased life expectancy by as much as 4.5 years.

Other recent surveys have shown that not only does regular physical activity benefit overall health, improve sleep, help to maintain a healthy weight, manage stress and improve quality of life, it can also have a large impact on reducing risk of long term health conditions and chances of some cancers occurring by as much as 20%, including breast and colon cancer, and helps reduces recurrences during and after treatment.

According to Cancer Research UK, around 3,400 cases of cancer in the UK each year could be prevented by keeping active. The more active you are, the better – whether that’s walking, taking the stairs or jogging… brisk walking, cycling and even housework can all count as ways to be active.”

Keeping active is easier than you think. Any activity is better than a doing nothing. Start off with low impact activities like walking, cycling and swimming, and build up your fitness over time into a regular pattern of exercise.

Regular activity is also a vital part of keeping well before during and after treatment for cancer. Macmillan Cancer Support states that “Physical activity is important for cancer patients at all stages of the cancer care pathway. There is evidence to support the role of physical activity for the following stages of the cancer care pathway:

  • during cancer treatment – physical activity improves, or prevents the decline of physical function without increasing fatigue;
  • after cancer treatment – physical activity helps recover physical function;
  • during and after cancer treatment – physical activity can reduce the risk of cancer recurrence and mortality for some cancers and can reduce the risk of developing other long term conditions; and
  • advanced cancer – physical activity can help maintain independence and wellbeing. 

>> More information from Macmillan Cancer Support.

We have a wide range of activities available through the Cancer Information Centre at Ipswich Hospital which can be tailored to your individual needs.Please contact us on 01473 715748 if you would like more information.