Friday, April 13, 2012

A long time

It has been over 2 years since I personally posted on this blog.
I signed in out of chance a few weeks ago and saw a message from David that was in response to my last post. He wondered if it would be ok to post the article he has. Unusually for me, for the pre cancer me, exercise has actually become a huge part of my rehabilitation from treatment and my ongoing life.
I am now at a 2 year survival point. A huge milestone to achieve, with my next being a 5 year point. For the stage of disease that I had my "5 year survival" rate is in the range of 65-75%. While I'm sure that I will be in that group, and while I continue to live my life as though I am, it makes me very aware of the fact that many other women won't make it. I have general health, youth (relatively) and now exercise on my side.
The treatment has finished, but I do still live with the after effects and scars - both physically and emotionally. Our journey post treatment took us on the most amazing tour of the world, has walked me through the complexities and frustrations of dealing with acc, and nearly to a journey of surrogacy - which just wasn't to be.
I passed my exams and am now just enjoying living. I am ever inspired by Dr Jared Noel. I have never met him, but he works at Aucklandw hospital. He was diagnosed with bowel cancer shortly after graduating from med school and after getting married. He has continued to work alternate weeks while attending chemo the other week. An incredible inspiration and example on how to live despite disease.

I'm not sure if anyone will read this, but as before, the exercise itself for me is therapeutic.

I now understand the term and will use it here: live strong.

Strength Training Proven Safe and Effective for Cancer Patients

It is fast becoming a recognized fact in treatment clinics around the world that all cancer patients benefit from exercise. Physical fitness is a popular, complimentary treatment due to both the efficacy and the low-cost. In the short-term, a regular fitness routine can combat the common symptoms experienced during active treatment, such as digestive complaints, fatigue and abnormal changes in weight. Over the long-term, fitness increases the chance of survival and reduces the risk of cancer recurrence. Unlike other forms of therapy and intervention, this is one that can be used by every patient at any stage, from colorectal cancer to advanced mesothelioma.

Questions About Appropriate Fitness Programs
A prescription for exercise is still problematic, because there is confusion over what types are most appropriate to specific situations. It is known, for instance, that bone cancer and cancers treated with hormonal therapy indicate the need for weight-bearing exercise, but what special precautions should a patient with brain cancer take? Can lung cancer patients use more strenuous forms of exercise without incurring injuries? How important is combining the usual endurance workout with strength training? Most of these questions are still awaiting the results of studies, but the latter one has been addressed in several studies.

Safety and Efficacy Established for Strength Training
Endurance training offers many benefits, but increasing the individual's fitness level is more rapidly accomplished by inclusion of strength training. The idea is catching on among exercise intervention programs, but there is still a lot of resistance to the fact that most cancer patients can handle this type of exercise. This fact was established in a 2007 study of 57 patients who had been treated with chemotherapy for breast, gynecologic, testicular, lymphoma, and colorectal cancers.

The safety of strength training was shown with no reports of adverse side effects or injuries. The efficacy of strength training was tested with measurements of cardiopulmonary function, muscle strength, and an overall quality of life score. Men were found to increase cardiopulmonary function by 10 percent, and women increased by 13 percent. Similar results were found in the category of muscle strength. The health-related quality of life score improved significantly for all participants.

Generalizing Exercise Recommendations
It is important to realize that every patient faces a different prognosis, and there is no one-size-fits-all exercise program. Some types of exercise will be useful and safe for a larger group, such as range of motion exercises and walking, but others may be contraindicated by specific conditions or complicating factors. Further, specific conditions will benefit most from specially designed exercises. Because of this, the best option is to discuss exercise with the treatment team early and often, and try to find a fitness expert or personal trainer who is trained in working with cancer patients.

The benefits of exercise for all cancer patients has been established, and researchers are still at work trying to quantify the benefits of specific exercises for different situations. Evidence currently shows that more exercise and variety in styles provides greater benefits.

By: David Haas of the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance