With World Cancer Day 2012 approaching on February 4, exercise physiologists across Australia are encouraging cancer survivors to revisit their exercise regime as part of their ongoing recovery.
According to the Australian Cancer Research Foundation, one in three Australian men and one in four Australian women will be directly affected by cancer before the age of 75.
Dr Sandi Hayes, a Senior Research Fellow at Queensland University of Technology and Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA) spokesperson says this sobering statistic equates to a large proportion of Australians being either cancer survivors or part of a support team for a loved one affected by cancer.
“We would strongly recommend that this annual event acts as a trigger for those surviving cancer and those supporting them to review their exercise regime and if necessary to seek professional help from an exercise physiologist to get them on the right track,” said Dr Hayes.
“While exercise is widely known to be an important part of maintaining general good health, there is a growing body of evidence that indicates exercise after cancer diagnosis may improve survival rates, at least in two of the most common cancers, breast and colon cancer.”
Cancer treatments can have a significant impact on a patient’s health including reduced muscle strength, psychological and emotional stress, reduced physical functioning and a number of other physical symptoms including fatigue, pain and nausea.
“Controlled exercise during and after treatment can assist in the management of all these factors and an appropriately qualified exercise professional can help optimise recovery,” said Dr Hayes.
ESSA recommends the general exercise prescription for people undertaking or having completed cancer treatment is of low to moderate intensity, regular frequency of about three to five times a week for at least 20 minutes per session, involving aerobic, resistance or mixed exercise types.
The organisation’s members are all exercise physiologists who are four-year university qualified allied health professionals specialising in the delivery of exercise, lifestyle and behavioural modification programs for the prevention and management of chronic diseases and injuries.
This year’s World Cancer Day has been themed ’Together it is possible’ to encourage every person, organisation and government to do their part to help achieve the organisation’s aim to reduce premature deaths from cancer and other non-communicable diseases worldwide by 25 percent by 2025.