Lifestyle Choices for Cancer Prevention: Embrace Regular Exercise

Lifestyle Choices for Cancer Prevention: Embrace Regular Exercise

07 July 2023
Posted By Dr. Aditi Aggarwal
Lifestyle Choices for Cancer Prevention: Embrace Regular Exercise

Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide, but there are steps you can take to reduce your risk and improve your chances of survival. One of the vital steps is regular exercise.

Exercise has been shown to have a range of benefits for cancer prevention and treatment, including reducing the risk of developing cancer, helping to tolerate the treatment better and improving quality of life for cancer patients and survivors

How Exercise Reduces Cancer Risk

Regular exercise has been linked to a reduced risk of several types of cancer, including breast, colon, and prostate cancer. Exercise can help to reduce the levels of certain hormones in the body, such as estrogen and insulin, which have been linked to an increased risk of breast and colon cancer, respectively.

Exercise for Cancer Treatment and Recovery

Exercise can also be beneficial for cancer patients and survivors. Regular exercise can help to improve physical fitness, reduce fatigue, and improve mood and quality of life.

Exercise is not only beneficial for cancer prevention, but also for cancer treatment and recovery. For cancer patients undergoing treatment, exercise can help alleviate side effects such as fatigue, nausea, and depression, and can improve overall quality of life. Additionally, exercise has been shown to have a positive impact on cancer-related symptoms such as pain and inflammation.

For cancer survivors, regular exercise improves overall health and well-being. However, it is important for cancer patients and survivors to work closely with their healthcare team to determine the appropriate type and intensity of exercise for their individual needs. Depending on type and stage of cancer, as well as individual's overall health and physical ability, some types of exercises may be more beneficial than others.

What is important is to try getting back to routine, not remaining inactive and sedentary during and after treatment. Taking a pause whenever you feel exhausted and not overexerting are equally important. Do discuss with your primary physician as to what intensity exercises can be done as per your disease in case you are a survivor.

Getting Started with Exercise

If you are new to exercise or have been inactive for a while, it is important to start slowly and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts. You should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week, or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise per week.

This can include activities such as walking, jogging, swimming, or cycling. Strength training exercises, such as lifting weights, can also be beneficial for building muscle mass and improving overall fitness.

Types of Exercise for Cancer Prevention

Aerobic exercises

Aerobic exercises, also known as cardio, is a type of exercise that increases your heart rate and breathing for a sustained period of time. Examples of aerobic exercises include brisk walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, dancing, and aerobics classes. Aerobic exercises can help reduce the risk of several types of cancer, including breast, colon, lung, and endometrial cancer, by improving insulin sensitivity, immune function, and inflammation

Strength Training

The American Cancer Society recommends that adults do strength training exercises at least two days per week, targeting all major muscle groups. Strength training can be done at home or in a gym, and can be modified to suit individual fitness levels and goals.

Flexibility and Balance Exercises

Flexibility and balance exercises include stretching, yoga, tai chi, and balance training. Flexibility exercises can help improve range of motion and reduce the risk of injury, while balance exercises can help reduce the risk of falls, especially in older adults.

Additionally, some studies suggest that yoga and tai chi may have specific benefits for cancer patients and survivors, such as reducing fatigue, anxiety, and depression, as well as improving sleep quality and overall well-being.

Mind-Body Exercises

Mind-body exercises, such as meditation and mindfulness practices aim to improve mental and emotional well-being through techniques such as deep breathing, visualization, and relaxation.

Studies have shown that regular practice of mind-body exercises can help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, which helps in dealing with treatment and recovering from side effects due to cancer treatment.


Regular exercise is an important step for reducing your risk of cancer and improving your chances of survival if you are diagnosed with cancer. Whether you are looking to prevent cancer or improve your quality of life during and after treatment, incorporating regular exercise into your routine can have a range of benefits for your physical and mental health.

So, make sure to speak with your healthcare provider about what exercise plan may be best for you.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Dr. Aditi Aggarwal has worked in radiation oncology for ten years, treating patients with thoracic cancer, gastrointestinal cancer, bone and soft tissue cancer, gynecological cancer, breast cancer, and neurological cancers.

As a medical doctor, Dr. Aditi Aggarwal holds an MBBS degree from Lady Hardinge Medical College Delhi, a MD degree in radiation oncology from VMMC and Safdarjang Hospital Delhi, as well as a post-doctoral diploma in cancer research from Catalyst Clinical Sciences in Pune.

Cancer is usually classified into four stages, with stage 0 being the earliest stage and stage IV being the most advanced. The stage of a cancer is an important factor in determining the prognosis and the best treatment options. Here's a brief overview of the different stages of cancer:

Stage 0: This is the earliest stage of cancer, and it refers to cancer that is still in its original place and has not spread to other parts of the body. It is also known as carcinoma in situ.

Stage I: This stage means that the cancer is still small and has not spread to other parts of the body. It may be treatable with surgery or other local treatments.

Stage II: At this stage, the cancer is larger and may have spread to nearby lymph nodes. It may be treated with surgery and/or radiation therapy, or other systemic treatments such as chemotherapy.

Stage III: This stage means that the cancer has spread to nearby tissues or organs and/or to distant lymph nodes. Treatment may involve a combination of surgery, radiation therapy, and/or systemic treatments such as chemotherapy.

Stage IV: This is the most advanced stage of cancer, and it means that the cancer has spread to other parts of the body, such as the liver, lungs, bones, or brain. Treatment at this stage is typically palliative, meaning that it aims to relieve symptoms and improve quality of life, rather than cure the cancer.

It's important to note that the staging of cancer can vary between different types of cancer and different systems used to classify the stages. Your healthcare provider can give you more information specific to your situation.

There is no single vaccine that can prevent or cure all types of cancer. However, some vaccines can help prevent certain viral infections that can increase the risk of certain cancers, such as the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, which can help prevent HPV-related cancers such as cervical, vaginal, vulvar, and anal cancer.

Additionally, some cancers can be treated with a type of immunotherapy called cancer vaccines, which help stimulate the body's own immune system to recognize and attack cancer cells. These vaccines are still in the experimental stage and are only available through clinical trials.

However, there are many things you can do to reduce your risk of developing cancer, such as eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding tobacco products, and getting regular cancer screenings. Your healthcare provider can give you more information on how to reduce your risk of cancer.

The symptoms of cancer can vary depending on the type and part of the body of cancer, as well as its stage. Some common symptoms of cancer include:

  • Fatigue
  • Pain that does not go away
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Skin changes, such as yellowing or darkening
  • Changes in bowel or bladder habits
  • Persistent coughing or trouble breathing
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Persistent hoarseness or sore throat
  • Persistent abdominal discomfort, such as bloating or abdominal pain
  • Menstrual changes in women
  • Persistent skin changes, such as yellowing or darkening
  • Changes in a wart or mole
  • Persistent headaches
  • Persistent bone or joint pain
  • Persistent fatigue or weakness
  • Persistent nausea or vomiting

It's important to keep in mind that these symptoms can also be caused by other conditions, and not all of them are present in all cases of cancer. If you are experiencing any symptoms that are new or persist for a long time, it's important to talk to your healthcare provider to determine the cause and get appropriate medical attention. Early detection and treatment of cancer can often lead to better outcomes.

Through us, you can schedule a Dr. Aditi Aggarwal priority appointment. Request a callback or dial 7982047515 to reach us.