Survived Breast Cancer? Keep Going
f you or someone you know is an older woman who has survived breast cancer, there’s something you—and she—should know. Don’t give up on exercise.
Chemotherapy and radiation treatments for breast cancer, not to mention hormone-related therapies that may trigger early menopause, can all contribute to more fragile bones as a women ages. Of course, many aging women face some degree of osteoporosis eventually. Osteoporosis is a progressive bone disease that results in the loss of minerals from bone. This loss causes bones to become more porous, and more likely to break. As I mentioned, it’s a common problem for many aging women.
But older women who have survived breast cancer are especially at risk, so it’s all the more important for these women to keep up with a regular physical fitness regimen. Exercise— especially weight-bearing exercise, such as walking or lifting weights—helps encourage bones to stay strong and healthy. And the effects can last for a year or more, according to recent research reported in the Journal of Cancer Survivorship.
Exercise can help combat some of the other effects of breast cancer treatment, too, such as the loss of lean muscle mass and increased body fat. Regular resistance and impact training provide a three-for-one benefit; helping retain or build lean muscle, reducing body fat, and increasing bone density. I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: Get up, and keep moving!
Jessica Dobek, Kerri M. Winters-Stone, Jill A. Bennett, Lillian Nail. Musculoskeletal changes after 1 year of exercise in older breast cancer survivors. Journal of Cancer Survivorship, 2013; DOI: 10.1007/s11764-013-0313-7