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A Study to Prove the Value of Exercise

Posted 3/4/2016

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  If this study being conducted at Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York has positive results, it is going to be a (small) game changer. Researchers there have enrolled 72 women with Stage IV breast cancer into a program of exercise training. The question is whether or not regular exercise slows the growth of their cancers.

  You will remember, especially if you have been reading this blog for a while and know that I continually harp on the subject, that a number of studies have suggested that regular exercise lowers the recurrence risk in many cancers. If this is indeed true, it is a parallel question whether similar exercise programs can slow down the progression of known cancers.

  One issue that immediately occurs to me is that is tough for many, not all, women with Stage IV breast cancer to exercise. They have side effects, including fatigue, from treatment; they may have pain related to the cancer; they may have some things that they physically should just not do. I assume that all of these questions are being carefully considered. This is, after all, happening at Memorial, not at Joe's Gym.

  From the Wall Street Journal comes this intriguing article:

Sloan Kettering’s Quest to Prove Exercise Can Inhibit Cancer
Trying ‘exercise oncology’ to stop or delay the spread of a malignant tumor; a trial for
women with stage 4 breast cancer

Researchers are testing an intriguing new weapon for patients
battling cancer: rigorous physical exercise.
Studies and clinical trials at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
in New York City aim to find out if a regimen of exercise training can
inhibit or delay the spread of a malignant tumor and help prevent its
recurrence. An early-stage trial currently under way involves 72
women with stage 4 breast cancer, which has spread to other parts of
the body and is generally considered incurable.
Scientists say the research, part of an emerging field known as
exercise oncology, could take years to prove a link between exercise
and cancer. If successful, they hope exercise someday will become a
standard of care in cancer treatment, along with conventional
therapies such as surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.

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