By David Haas
Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance
Being diagnosed with cancer of any form, whether it is a common form of cancer like breast cancer or a rare disease like mesothelioma, automatically increases your stress level a thousand fold. Unfortunately, there is little you can do to relieve the stress you feel when you hear your doctors tell you that you have cancer and will need to undergo treatment that could include chemotherapy or radiation. Your stress level will be continuously higher for the rest of your life once you learn you have cancer.
You will stress about money, treatment, your family, your future and everything in between. While there isn’t much you can do to alleviate the extreme emotions that will encompass your body and mind for the duration of your cancer treatment, there are ways you can reduce your stress temporarily and boost your immune system so that your body is more receptive to treatment.
Exercise is the easiest way to reduce your stress level. The endorphins released into your body during exercise fight the hormones that cause stress, giving you a feeling of relief during and afterward. The reduction of stress on your body helps your immune system to become stronger, which gives you more strength to fight your cancer, which is imperative.
Regular exercise will not only make you look and feel better about yourself, it will actually make you better. A healthy immune system is better able to fight off your cancer, which makes your prognosis more promising and your treatments more effective. It is not uncommon for cancer patients to experience extreme fatigue and exhaustion during the course of treatment, but exercise will help you fight some of the fatigue and exhaustion you will experience.
Overall, the benefits of exercise during and after cancer treatments are worth more than just a better body image – though that is great, too. The improvement in the quality of your life is paramount to the success of your treatment. Feeling better about yourself and being better on the inside will give you the strength you need to handle the days that your treatment makes you feel worse than ever and to keep on fighting.
In addition to regular exercise, there are also other ways to improve your quality of life. However, exercise is the most beneficial because it helps you in more than just one area. Healthier living, even with cancer, is better than unhealthy living without cancer because at least you are fighting it.