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New Research Proves Exercise Beneficial to Cancer Therapy Results

For many years doctors have advised some diabetic and cardiac patients to exercise. Exercise tones muscles, burns calories, improves memory, enhances mood and now researchers have determined that exercise may be beneficial to cancer therapy patients. For years, the American Cancer Society has advocated exercise to enhance quality of life for survivors of cancer. A team of researchers at Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, North Carolina under the leadership of Dr. Mark W. Dewhirst, have experimented with the results of exercise combined with chemotherapy to battle certain cancers with positive results.

Exercise increases the flow of oxygen in the bloodstream. Doctors may soon be recommending a combination of exercise and chemotherapy treatments. Chemotherapy operates more efficiently with ample oxygen blood flow. Tumors are known to send out biochemical signals, which generate supplementary blood vessels that may allow a tumor to enlarge. The additional blood vessels often twist around the tumor in such a manner that the tumor practically suffocates.

While someone might contend that the tumor will die due to lack of oxygen, this is often not the case. The lack of oxygen results in a tumor that is resistant to chemotherapy. Chemotherapy and radiation drugs require oxygen for maximum benefit.

To deliver required oxygen rich blood to the suffocating tumor, the scientists conducted an experiment with mice. The scientists injected the mice with breast cancer cells. A group of the mice were inactive, while the second group were placed on an exercise wheel. The health of the mice that exercised was better equipped to fight off the cancer cells even without drugs. Although several variations of the test were performed, in the Duke University study, breast cancer tumors in mice proved more responsive to chemotherapy combined with aerobic exercise.

 

*Photo courtesy of IMG_2153 Copy by Hezi Ben-Ari at Flickr’s Creative Commons.

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