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Breast Cancer, Chemotherapy and cognitive decline. Latest research-Breast Cancer and Exercise

July 12, 2012
breast cancer and exercise

Breast cancer and exercise

Hi there and thanks so much for posting this question.

Are you speaking of breast cancer? I have been working with breast cancer patients but I am not a Pathologist so I would suggest you ask those specific questions regarding lymph nodes although I will like to share how exercise can help you when undergoing chemo.

Chemo and potential cognitive decline Jennifer Griggs, M.D., M.P.H. : This is a good question. Many women describe problems with short-term memory and with concentration when receiving really any chemotherapy. Some of the changes in cognitive function (thinking and concentration) can be due to a variety of problems, such as sleep disturbance, fatigue, information overload, a busy lifestyle, and depression and anxiety

I would say that long-term memory problems (persisting or lasting more than one to two years) are uncommon. If you are affected, however, this can be a very troubling, annoying, and frustrating effect of chemotherapy. The hormonal changes that chemotherapy can cause, such as “chemopause,” may be responsible in large part for the memory and concentration problems keep reading go here 

I would suggest that you follow your surgeon advise in the case you are not sure get a second opinion. I know that you are concern with potential cognitive changes although life is by far more important and thanks to the plasticity of the brain you can recover cognitive abilities

Lets go now to Breast Cancer and Lifestyle

Breast cancer is a disease in which malignant(cancer) cells form inthe tissues of the breast. About 1 in 8 women in the United States (12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. In 2012, an estimated 250,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer were expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S., along with 54,010 new cases of non-invasive (in situ) breast cancer.
However  there are clear reasons for hope and full recovery after treatment. Exercise can play a fundamental role in the emotional well being and also fron the physiological point of view of the individual.
It is known Chronic low-grade inflammation is a possible risk factor for cancer that may be modifiable with long-term exercise
According to National Breast Cancer Foundation
“Exercise pumps up the immune system and lowers estrogen levels. With as little as four hours of exercise per week, a woman can begin to lower her risk of breast cancer”


It is well established that regular exercise can help prevent breast cancer (Peel et al. 2009). Recently researchers have determined that high levels of IGF -1 often present in sedentary individuals can increase the risk of breast cancer recurrence (Ligibel et al.2008)
Along the same lines a 2005 study of 3,000 breast cancer patients found that just 1 hour of walking per week significantly increase the patient’s likelihood of making a full recovery (American Cancer Society 2005)

Cardiovascular and strength training appear to be equally beneficial in generating anti depressive effects (Brosse et al. 2002) so it makes sense that regular exercise and resistance exercises could also be used to manage depression or anxiety triggered by the trauma of breast cancer diagnosis click here to keep reading  

Most people know that exercise can help prevent breast cancer as well as increase the likelihood of a full recovery after treatment. However, it is not as widely recognized that regular exercise can also mitigate many f the symptoms of cancer treatment. Here are few of the most notable benefits:

-Increased functional capacity
-Increased postmasectomy mobility and Range of Motion
-Decreased of Body Fat
-Increased Lean muscle mass
-Reduced loss of bone mineral density
-Decreased nausea and fatigue
-Improved mood- self esteem and control
In short exercise can be beneficial before, during and alter a diagnose of breast cancer

I hoper this helps and before you start any physical exercise program please consult with your doctor.

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