Can Exercise Help Beat Cancer?

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, September 13th, 2016

Can exercise really help beat cancer? An experiment in which mice ran between 4 and 7 kilometers a night showed how exercise can boost the immune system’s attack on cancer, preventing new tumors growing, and slowing the growth of existing ones by up to 60%.

Nurse ExerciseA University of Copenhagen in Denmark team tested the effects of exercise on five different types of mouse cancer, including those of the skin, lung and liver. They found that exercise prompts the release of adrenaline; this stress hormone in turn stimulates the immune system to send its cancer-fighting natural killer cells into the bloodstream. A substance called interleukin-6, which is released by exercising muscles in the mice, directs these killer cells to attack the tumors.

“We already know that exercise has an impact on natural killer cell activity, but this is the first time anyone has shown it’s directly involved in helping them invade tumors,” says Lee Jones of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. “This is a big piece of the puzzle that’s been missing.”

In people, there is some evidence that exercise can prevent the relapse of colorectal and breast cancers after menopause.  Now we have even more motivation to get out of the chair and exercise!

To learn ways to prioritize care of your mind, body and spirit, visit SelfCare for HealthCareContact me today to discuss implementing this powerful program at your facility.


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