The Whispered Disease: Cancer
Corley Roberts | Jun 12, 2012, 9:52 a.m.
Do you remember the movie “Terms of Endearment,” the 1983 drama film starring Shirley MacLaine, Debra Winger, and Jack Nicholson? Emma (Debra Winger) played the role of daughter to Aurora (Shirley MacLaine) in the film. The story follows both women across several years, as each finds her reasons for going on living and finding joy. Emma finds she has cancer at age 30.
Emma's childhood friend Patsy, a New York City socialite, invites her to New York City for her first vacation without her children; however, after arriving, Emma feels out-of-place amongst Patsy's friends. In various scenes, the word ‘cancer’ is whispered at the dinner table and at a party. Emma ends up returning home early to begin treatment for her illness.
If you are going through cancer treatments, or are in remission, say it out loud and know that your battle is worth the fight. The fight includes keeping yourself strong despite the fatigue that treatment often causes.
Let’s talk about that forbidden topic: exercise.
The disease of cancer as well as its treatment takes on many forms. Patients in remission have the most to gain from exercise; however, some patients undergoing treatment can benefit as well.
Cancer treatment involves surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, sometimes in combination or singularly.
If you are undergoing chemotherapy or radiation, simple strength and flexibility exercises are important. You may be easily fatigued, but try to keep yourself moving. It’s important to maintain endurance and level of function during treatment.
If you are in remission or a cancer survivor, exercise training can help control some after-treatment side effects and depression.
I personally find that the possible side effects, often permanent, are harder to talk about then the cancer itself. Patients hearing that they have cancer will focus on getting through it, not on what to do afterwards. However, many patients aren’t aware of the long-term effects of treatment. I want to share some of those effects and how exercise can help make a positive difference! Think of exercise as just another weapon in your fight to live stronger and longer!
Radiation and chemotherapy can cause permanent scar tissue in joints, the lungs, and the heart. Chemo-induced cardiomyopathies can limit cardiovascular functioning.
It might be wise to see your physician about pre-exercise testing before beginning an exercise program. Various tests can help formulate an exercise prescription specific to your needs and treatment effect. However, the goal for most patients with cancer is to improve strength and endurance. Exercises like walking, swimming, and stationary biking are excellent for maintaining endurance. Strength training helps keep your arms and legs strong, resulting in your heart having to work equally as hard. Stretching and flexibility may help decrease joint and muscle stiffness. Walking and balance exercises may help improve gait and overall coordination.
Your goal is to live a full, healthy, active lifestyle.
Let’s say it, cancer sucks.
Let’s say it, exercise sucks. The results, however, can be lifesaving. One you have to live with, the other one is a choice. It’s YOUR move!
Visit www.MyFitScript.com for a FREE cancer and exercise program on June 18th!
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