Saturday, July 30, 2011

Exercise can restore a sense of power in medical treatment

The last thing people undergoing treatment for cancer may be thinking about is exercise. Maybe they should reconsider.

"A lot of times cancer patients feel they lose control," said Karen Mustian, director of the Physical Exercise, Activity and Kinesiology Laboratory [PEAK] at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

Exercise can restore a sense of power.

"It can help them get through any treatment with less side effects and trouble," said Mustian, who has researched the effects. "They'll be able to adhere to treatment better and recover quicker."

Mustian will talk about the benefits of exercise for cancer patients and survivors at the American Cancer Society's I Can Cope monthly education session at 6:30 p.m. Mondays at St. Thomas' Episcopal Church, 2000 Highland Ave, Rochester NY.

Those benefits can accrue to anyone regardless of where they find themselves in their recovery. "They could have just found out and are trying to figure out what to do or it could be 10 years ago," she said.

Mustian also is assistant professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the Wilmot Cancer Center and assistant professor in the Department of Community and Preventive Medicine. She holds a doctorate in exercise physiology and psychology, and has published extensively in scientific journals on exercise and quality of life and management of side effects for cancer patients.

She was the lead investigator in a nationwide clinical trial of the benefits of gentle yoga for people who had completed radiation and chemotherapy. She will present new, objective data that back up participants' reports of improved sleep and discuss ongoing trials and recruitment criteria.

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