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Pumping Iron


A new report from British cancer charity Macmillan Cancer Support is turning the conventional wisdom of exercise for cancer patients on its head, says The New York Times' Anahad O'Connor. Whereas many people who have cancer may be inclined to rest after receiving treatment, the new report says that patients actually should increase their level of physical activity. The report is based on the findings of 60 studies on the effects of exercise on cancer. "Saying some patients should view light exercise almost as a form of treatment itself, the report noted that two and a half hours of exercise a week could lower a breast cancer patient's risk of dying or cancer recurrence by 40 percent, and could reduce a prostate cancer patient's risk of dying from the disease by about 30 percent," O'Connor says. For some patients, light or moderate exercise even helped reduce some of the side effects of cancer treatment. "For patients looking for help with starting a new regimen, the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Cancer Society introduced a program that educates and certifies trainers to work specifically with cancer patients, so they understand their goals and limitations," O'Connor adds.