Exercise can save Breast Cancer survivors from cardiovascular problems

Obesity and an inactive lifestyle amongst cancer survivors can adversely affect the heart muscles.

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Treatment for breast cancer tends to expose patients to a much higher risk of cardiovascular problems because of chemotherapy and radiations. 

A study, published in the journal Oncology, recently revealed that exercise alone can considerably reduce the risk of a heart disease in women suffering from breast cancer. Obesity and an inactive lifestyle tends to just worsen the situation. 

A clinical trial with patients who participated in a 16-week programme, significantly proved the reduced risk amongst patients who remained physically active over their sedentary counterparts.

The patients participated in a supervised three weekly one-on-one exercise sessions for 16 weeks. These included 80-minute sessions focusing on resistance and aerobic exercises for two days and 50 minute sessions of aerobic exercises on the third day. This intervention met the guidelines for exercises, as set by the American Cancer Society for cancer survivors.

It is known that prescribing exercise is not considered as a standard care procedure in regular practice. Sharing his thoughts about this, Kyuwan Lee, doctoral student at the University of Southern California (USC), said, “The main cause of mortality in women diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer is heart disease. We hope that this study shows the importance of exercise in reducing the risk of heart disease to emphasise the need to integrate exercise into clinical practice for cancer patients.” 

He further intends to study prevention of cardiovascular dysfunction in cancer patients who are undergoing chemotherapy, which is cardio-toxic as it uses drugs which can cause irreversible damage to the muscles of the heart.

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