PHYSICAL exercise and sport are useful tools in the fight against cancer with Spanish doctors saying a bit of daily exertion can reduce the risk of developing a tumour by 30%.
Even if a patient is suffering from cancer, it still improves the quality of life, reduces the side effects from treatments and increases the response to them.
The Spanish Society of Medical Oncology (SEOM) launched its ‘Exercise against cancer’ campaign on World Cancer Day on Wednesday.
It’s about raising awareness of the importance of physical exercise at all stages of cancer, from prevention, during treatment and in survivors.
Preventing a tumour starts with 30 minutes of regular physical activity according to the SEOM.
It can cut the risk of breast, colon, urinary bladder, endometrial, esophageal and stomach cancers by up to 30%, and the risk of cancer-specific mortality by almost 20%.
However, only 37.7% of the adult population engages in regular physical activity while 27.4% of the population declares itself sedentary, according to the National Statistics Institute.
The most figures focus on breast and colorectal cancer, but the benefits of sport and exercise extend to other tumours such as prostate and lung cancer, according to the SEOM president, Cesar A. Rodriguez.
“Physical exercise is safe during all stages of cancer care, even during active treatments such as chemotherapy, as it is associated with better tolerance to them, and could even increase responses,” he said.
Despite this, few cancer patients remain physically active due to the lack of information from health professionals, as well as their own reluctance due to the fear of new adverse effects, a lack of motivation or difficulties in accessing sports facilities.
Along with exercise, Rodriguez stressed the importance of giving up risk factors, mainly tobacco, and warned that vapes also generate carcinogenic substances.