Oncology Rehab and Wellness Resources, LLC
20098 Ashbrook Place
Ashburn, VA 20147
Cancer Related Deconditioning?
Of all cancer treatment complications, one of the most prevalent is cancer related “deconditioning” (loss of physical fitness due to failure to maintain an optimal level of physical activity or training). Deconditioning related to the inactivity resulting from cancer and cancer treatments is a serious problem. It is the basis for why physical activity recommendations for cancer patients are beginning to change.
More and more cancer patients are winning the fight against cancer and in some instances many forms of cancer are becoming more of a chronic disease. It is because of this that the long-term effects on the body and on a person’s general health are even more important to consider.
In recent years, large population studies have identified a strong association between lower levels of physical activity and higher cancer mortality. New research has demonstrated that maintaining 30 minutes of activity per day has been associated with a 34% lower rate of cancer death and a 33% improved cancer survival. Outcomes demonstrate significant improvements in quality of life for patients.Cancer rehabilitation specialists are educated in the complications of cancer treatments and work with patients to effectively manage the late effects of deconditioning and help to prevent it in the first place.
All body systems are affected by cancer, its treatments and the inactivity that can result. Take, for example, the musculoskeletal system.
Weakening of the muscles from not using them is a common outcome for cancer patients who undergo chemotherapy. It is noted that even in healthy individuals on bed rest, strength declines at a rate of 1-1.5% per day or approximately 10% per week.
Cancer-related fatigue, in combination leads a lot of cancer patients and their medical team to believe that rest is the needed remedy. That thinking is being replaced with advocating for patients to maintain being as active as possible during treatment.
Rehab From Cancer
How can cancer rehab help? Rehab can include individualized strength and endurance training, aerobic training, stretching exercises and most importantly provide cancer patients with the education needed to ensure safety with any exercise or activity.
It cannot be stressed enough how important physical activity is to cancer patients. It needs to be understood that while surviving cancer itself is a difficult journey, suffering from additional complications related to inactivity can make recovery more difficult, can affect cancer survival itself and can lead to serious lifelong complications.