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Guest post by Diane Owens, PT, FACHE – Assistant Administrator at St. David’s Rehabilitation Hospital.

A new study confirms once again the role of exercise in maintaining good health. From Alzheimers to cardiac health to diabetes, research consistently touts the benefits of exercise. With a new study by Macmillan Cancer Support, we can add cancer to the data. The Macmillan researchers conducted a comprehensive evidence review of over 60 studies and recently published a comprehensive report.

The findings:

  1. Emerging evidence show that achieving sufficient activity levels can reduce the risk of dying from breast cancer by 30-40% and the risk of dying from bowel cancer by 50%.
  2. Physical activity of 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity a week is appropriate for otherwise healthy cancer survivors.
  3. Physical activity after treatment for cancer can reduce the impact of some debilitating side effects, such as swelling around the arm, anxiety , depression, fatigue, impaired mobility and weight changes.
  4. Comprehensive rehabilitation cancer services should include physical therapy to encourage and recommend appropriate levels of activity.

Healthcare professionals are not sufficiently aware of the new evidence. More than half know little of nothing about the benefits of activity in preventing or managing side/long term effects and only 6% talk to their patients about physical activity.

St. David’s Rehabilitation Hospital has launched a comprehensive cancer program to address the data listed above. Teaming up with the St. David’s Breast Resource Center and NeuroTexas Institute, St. David’s developed an interdisciplinary team of neurosurgeons, oncologists, general surgeons, and certified lymphedema, occupational , speech and physical therapists, the St. David’s Rehabilitation program provides a setting for cancer patients to receive comprehensive cancer rehabilitation services.

This new data only confirms another benefit of exercise. It’s never too late to develop this healthy and life-saving habit.

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