Exercise and Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers. In Australia, 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed in their lifetime and the average age of diagnosis is 61 years old. Breast cancer treatments and the understanding of the disease has come a long way with an approximate 90%, 5-year survival rate after diagnosis.

The current exercise guidelines for people with cancer are the same as those without cancer. That means patients with cancer should still be completing 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week in addition to 2 strength sessions per week. If you have had cancer, or you know someone who has, you would appreciate how difficult this would be particularly during treatment and in the depths of chemotherapy induced fatigue.

The benefits of exercise for Breast Cancer Patients:

·       Maintenance and improvement of physical capacity and strength.

·       Improved quality of life.

·       Improved body image.

·       To improve cardiovascular, neurological, cognitive and muscular health which are often impacted by cancer treatments.

·       To reduce and prevent the long term and late side effects of treatment.

Of course, it may not be as simple as doing the exercise you did prior to treatment. Many factors need to be considered including stage of cancer and metastases, current treatment and fatigue, recovery from surgeries and lymphodaema just to mention a few. Your Exercise Physiologist can help to guide you through a safe and effective exercise program regardless of your stage of breast cancer.

Alicea, our Exercise Physiologist, has completed the most up to date course with Prof. Prue Cormie on exercise for Breast Cancer patients. I you have a recent diagnosis, are in the middle of treatment, have been diagnosed with metastatic cancer or are in remission – a program can be designed to help manage your symptoms and provide you with the best quality of life.

Rachel Morgan-Varlow