In honor of the ladies in all of our lives, La Jolla Sports Club tackles cancer for October Breast Cancer Awareness Month!
Chances are you or someone you know has been affected by cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute, there were an estimated 1,735,350 new cases of cancer in 2018 and in 2026, we will have an estimated 20.3 million survivors—an increase of 5 million people over the span of a decade. Addtionally, an approximate 38.4% of Americans will get some form of cancer over their lifespan. More than a third of us.
Please re-read that paragraph.
Now that we have sufficiently bummed you out, we do have some good news for you: Overall cancer mortality rates fell 26% from 1991-2015 and, according to BreastCancer.org, women under 50 have seen the largest decrease in breast cancer mortality rates due to awareness, advances in technology and early screening. Progress is definitely being made in both science and lifestyle, but there is much work to be done. What, you ask, can I do in the meantime? Well, it’s been shown that exercise can help battle cancer, so that seems like a pretty good place to start. Especially since you’re one of our favorite La Jolla Sports Club members 🙂
Along the way, we’re going to mention stats and research. We’ve referenced the National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society, Harvard Medical School, and the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (hook ’em, Horns), so the info you’re going to read is current as of the last few years. Because f#©k cancer.
What is known about the relationship between physical activity and cancer risk?
According to the National Cancer Institute:Many studies show that physically active women have a lower risk of breast cancer than inactive women. In a 2013 meta-analysis of 31 prospective studies, the average breast cancer risk reduction associated with physical activity was 12%. Physical activity has been associated with a reduced risk of breast cancer in both premenopausal and postmenopausal women. The evidence for an association, however, is stronger for postmenopausal breast cancer. Women who increase their physical activity after menopause may also have a lower risk of breast cancer than women who do not.
In addition to improving the immune system, reducing inflammation and preventing obesity—all of which itself can be precursors to cancer themselves—physical activity can help lower hormones (such as estrogen) that have been associated with the development and progression of breast cancer.
The Benefits of Exercise During Treatment
According to Harvard Health Publishing, ‘exercise as an additional therapy for patients undergoing cancer treatment has been well-studied and associated with many benefits. In one analysis of 61 clinical trials of women with all stages of breast cancer, those who underwent an exercise program during treatment had significantly improved quality of life, fitness, energy and strength, as well as significantly less anxiety, depression and lower body mass index and waist circumference compared with the regular care groups.’
In yet another major analysis of 28 trials involving over 1,000 participants with advanced cancers (including leukemia, lymphoma, multiple myeloma, lung, breast, GI and prostate), an exercise program during treatment was associated with significantly improved physical function, energy levels, weight / BMI, psychosocial function, sleep quality and overall quality of life.
We know this is a lot of information, but grab a La Jolla Sports Club Personal Trainer with any questions on how / when to get started.
The Benefits of Exercise For Cancer Survivors
Loads of research has been done regarding the benefits of exercise to help stave off cancer and during treatment, but what about after treatment? As you’ve probably (correctly) guessed, research has shown that physical activity may have beneficial effects for several aspects of cancer survivorship, including weight gain (which has been linked to worse survival rates), overall quality of life (including social and mental health), cancer recurrence or progression likelihood of survival. Most of the evidence for the potential benefits of physical activity in cancer survivors comes from people diagnosed with breast, prostate or colorectal cancer.
Exercising moderately (the equivalent of walking 3 to 5 hours per week at an average pace) after a breast cancer diagnosis had approximately 40% to 50% lower risks of breast cancer recurrence, death from breast cancer and death from any cause compared with more sedentary women.
While it will take a while to build up your strength and endurance after treatment, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes vigorous exercise each week. For best results, try for a combination of both!
La Jolla Sports Club offers a ton of classes at various levels of difficulty, so when you’re ready, dip your toes into a fun, social and supportive way to get back into fitness.
Alright, that was a ton of information, but hopefully you found it helpful. Again, your Personal Trainers are always available for questions and insight, so don’t be afraid to ask.
Check back in next post, where we dig a little deeper into exercises that are good for all stages of survivorship.
Until then, have a great couple of weeks!
// Your friends at La Jolla Sports Club