Nurse Health: Can Exercise Help Beat Cancer?

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, August 19th, 2016

An experiment with mice has shown 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%, according to the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.

nurse health exercise cancer preventionA team tested the effects of exercise on five different types of mouse cancer, including those of the skin, lung and liver and found that exercise prompted the release of adrenaline. This stress hormone in turn stimulated 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,” he says.

None of the mouse tumors shrank as a result of exercise, they grew less quickly, suggesting that exercise is unlikely to reverse an existing cancer. But in some animals, running did prevent liver tumors from growing in the first place.

Another health benefit of exercise! To learn how to increase your exercise and to care for your body, mind and spirit, and to improve nurse health, visit SelfCare for HealthCareContact me today for a complimentary consultation about what’s working and what’s not working in terms of wellness at your facility.

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