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Cancer And Exercise

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Scientific studies show that:

  • Physical fitness helps fight cancer.
  • Exercise is safe and cost effective
  • Exercise can improve function, qualify of life and indepence of people with cancer
  • Exercise is valuable before and after treatment -- and perhaps even during cancer treatment. For example, people who exercise have less fatigue, greater strength and better aerobic capacity, strengthened immune function and even lower rates of recurrence.

There are likely to be days during treatment when meaningful physical activity is not possible. Don't push it on those days. Take a break.

Classes: There may be specific exercise classes for people with cancer in your area.

  • Check with the American Cancer Society ( offsite link or Tel: 800.ACS.2345), your local YMCA and your local gyms. 
  • The LIVESTRONG program at the YMCA is free to cancer survivors. After the program ends, the YMCA offers discounted rates to cancer survivors who want to continue to exercise.

If there are no local classes for cancer survivors, consider starting one of your own. The American Cancer Society can suggest how to do that.

Trainers: The American College of Sports Medicine has a certification program for health and fitness instructors who work with cancer patients. To find a trainer in your area, go to, offsite link Click on "Certification."   Then click on "Find An ACSM Certified Trainer."  On the next page, scroll down to "ACSM/ACS Certified Cancer Exercise Trainer". (The program was developed with the American Cancer Society).  

Other professionals who can help develop exercise programs for your specific needs and situation are physical therapists, occupational therapists and exercise physiologists.


NOTE: If you have breast cancer, there are specific exercises for the affected area

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