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  • Dr. Pragati Singhal
  • 17 May 2024

Breast cancer is a formidable opponent, affecting millions of lives each year. While advancements in treatment have improved survival rates, there's growing recognition of the importance of holistic approaches to breast cancer management. One such approach gaining prominence is exercise. In this blog, we'll delve into the significant role that exercise plays in both the recovery from and prevention of breast cancer.

Exercise and Breast Cancer Recovery

Physical activity has emerged as a powerful tool in the recovery journey for breast cancer survivors. Studies have shown that regular exercise during and after breast cancer treatment can have numerous benefits, including:

Improved Physical Function

Cancer treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy can take a toll on physical function and quality of life. However, engaging in regular exercise can help mitigate these side effects by improving strength, endurance, and overall physical function.

Reduced Fatigue

Fatigue is one of the most common side effects of cancer treatment, affecting up to 80% of patients. Exercise has been shown to combat fatigue by increasing energy levels, reducing inflammation, and improving sleep quality.

Enhanced Mood and Mental Well-being

Dealing with a breast cancer diagnosis and treatment can be emotionally challenging. Exercise has been linked to improvements in mood, self-esteem, and overall mental well-being by stimulating the release of endorphins, serotonin, and other feel-good hormones.

Lower Risk of Recurrence and Mortality

Emerging evidence suggests that regular exercise may reduce the risk of breast cancer recurrence and mortality in survivors. Exercise may help modulate hormone levels, reduce inflammation, and improve immune function, all of which can contribute to a lower risk of cancer recurrence.

Exercise and Breast Cancer Prevention

In addition to its role in recovery, exercise also plays a crucial role in breast cancer prevention. Research has shown that leading an active lifestyle can help reduce the risk of developing breast cancer, with benefits including:

Hormone Regulation

Physical activity can help regulate hormone levels, including estrogen and insulin, which are known to play a role in breast cancer development. By maintaining hormonal balance, exercise may help lower the risk of hormone receptor-positive breast cancer.

Weight Management

Obesity is a significant risk factor for breast cancer, particularly in postmenopausal women. Regular exercise can aid in weight management by burning calories, increasing metabolism, and promoting the maintenance of lean muscle mass.

Immune System Support

Exercise has been shown to enhance immune function, which plays a critical role in detecting and eliminating abnormal cells, including cancer cells. By boosting immune function, exercise may help reduce the risk of cancer development.

Reduced Inflammation

Chronic inflammation has been linked to various diseases, including cancer. Exercise has anti-inflammatory effects, helping to reduce levels of inflammatory markers in the body and create an environment less conducive to cancer growth.

Incorporating Exercise into Daily Life

The benefits of exercise for breast cancer recovery and prevention are clear, but how can individuals incorporate exercise into their daily lives? Here are some practical tips:

Start Slow

If you're new to exercise or recovering from cancer treatment, start with gentle activities such as walking, swimming, or yoga. Gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts as your strength and stamina improve.

Find Activities You Enjoy

Exercise doesn't have to be a chore. Find activities that you enjoy and look forward to, whether it's dancing, gardening, or playing a sport. The key is to make exercise fun and sustainable.

Stay Consistent

Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise per week, as recommended by the American Cancer Society. Consistency is key to reaping the full benefits of exercise.

Listen to Your Body

Pay attention to how your body responds to exercise and adjust your routine accordingly. If you experience pain or discomfort, scale back your workouts or try different activities that are easier on your body..

Exercise is a powerful ally in the fight against breast cancer, playing a crucial role in both recovery and prevention. By incorporating regular physical activity into your daily routine, you can improve your physical function, enhance your mood and well-being, reduce your risk of cancer recurrence, and lower your overall risk of developing breast cancer. So, lace up your sneakers, hit the gym, and move your body for better breast health!

"With Compassion & Expertise, Dr. Pragati Singhal Guiding You Towards Recovery"


Breast Cancer Basics Women's Health Prevention and Wellness Exercise