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Exercise Right: Take control of your cancer journey with exercise

As February celebrates Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, and with World Cancer Day recently held on 4th February, this month serves as a timely reminder that exercise should be considered as part of a multidisciplinary treatment plan to manage symptoms of cancer and the symptoms that treatment may cause.

“Research shows exercise during and after cancer treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy and radiation has significant benefits to recovery,” says Anita Hobson-Powell, Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA) Chief Executive Officer.

In 2008, an average of 12 females every day were diagnosed with gynaecological cancers – totalling 4,534 women for the year. Ovarian cancer can cause various symptoms and side effects, varying from woman to woman.

“Exercise is the best kind of medicine for cancer patients as it helps to reduce side effects as a result of cancer treatments. Exercise can increase your strength, reduce fatigue and improve your range of motion and daily functions after treatment,” explains Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AEP) and women’s health expert, Esme Soan.

“One of the most common side effects of chemotherapy is fatigue. Fatigue is normal and a common challenge for those undergoing chemotherapy treatment and it is easy to focus on what you can’t do rather than what you can. Light physical activity can actually help raise energy levels as well as improve sleep quality.”

Finding an Accredited Exercise Physiologist with experience in cancer rehabilitation and recovery, especially after gynaecological cancers to look after your pelvic floor, can be key in getting you better and returning to work and life.

Ways exercise can help cancer recovery:

  • Exercise can ease nausea during chemotherapy.
  • Exercise can improve blood flow and circulation, reducing your risk of DVT and blood clots in your lower limbs.
  • Exercise can help ease constipation, without the need for medication.
  • Exercise can help ease fatigue from chemotherapy, and improve your tolerance for your day-to-day tasks.
  • Changes in your pelvic bowl after hysterectomy or laparoscopy surgeries for gynaecological cancers can place stress on your pelvic floor. Exercises for pelvic floor can make a big difference to incontinence or back pain.
  • Exercise can help you to have more muscle and stronger bones. Chemotherapy, hysterectomy and hormonal therapy medicines can throw you in to sudden menopause, which also can cause muscle mass to decrease and put your bones at risk.
  • Exercise is fun. Join a group session, have a chat and exercise to music or with games to help you to enjoy your movement and switch off for a moment from treatment.



About Exercise Right
Exercise Right is the public awareness vehicle of Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA).
Exercise Right aims to inspire and educate all Australians to be healthier and more active. Exercise Right is expertly compiled by professionals and thought leaders in the field, making it a trusted source of information amongst consumers.