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Exercise can shrink tumours

Updated: May 13

A recent study out of Denmark published in the journal Cell Metabolism shows how mice undergoing intense exercise experienced a 50 percent reduction in growth, size and incidence of cancer tumours.


The findings shed light on how exercise can boost cancer-fighting immune cells, giving hope that the same results can be duplicated in humans. Scientists have long understood that infiltration of these natural cancer-fighting immune cells into a cancerous tumour is the key to controlling and regulating tumour size.



But, the question remains, how these specialized cells could be brought into action more effectively.

For now, research shows us that exercise supplies that surge of adrenaline that enables more effective movement of cancer-killing immune cells toward cancerous tumours. 


Researchers at the University of Copenhagen determined that a surge of adrenaline, induced by high-intensity exercise, gave a boost to cancer-killing immune cells, pushing them toward lung, skin and liver tumours.


Increased blood flow is good for cancer patients.


Other research shows exercise may be working to combat cancer in many other ways.  For example, a study conducted at Kansas State University involving prostate cancer tumour growth in rats found increased blood flow to slow the spread of cancer.

The rats were divided into two groups: those that exercised and those that were sedentary. Researchers found that exercising increased blood flow to the tumours by 200 percent. Tumours that have an abundance of oxygen-rich blood have a much lower tendency to metastasize and spread cancer to other regions of the body.


Another study by another group of researchers found that aerobic exercise brought about normalcy to human breast cancer tissues. The scientists believe that exercise is able to help tissue affected by cancer return to its pre-tumour state – effectively halting the development of more aggressive and dangerous tumour growth.


Exercise has also been found to be helpful in making conventional treatments more effective. Research has shown that exercise added to a conventional regimen of chemotherapy was more effective in shrinking tumours than when chemotherapy was administered alone.


And, even though I’m not a fan of chemotherapy (for good reason) – I still respect the decision of each person to decide what’s best for them.  Bottom line, no matter what treatment option is picked, one thing is very clear – exercise is good for cancer patients. (no doubt)

Simply put: There’s no downside to exercise for cancer patients.  Not only will they reap the mental and emotional benefits, but the anticancer benefits are worth the effort.  


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