Staying physically active during chemotherapy treatment can benefit patients' physical and mental health. But findings from an animal study show that exercising may also help reduce the size of tumors.
As reported by Futurity, University of Pennsylvania researcher Joseph Libonati, PhD, and colleagues originally set out to test whether adding a fitness regimen to chemotherapy would offset cardiac damage related to the drug doxorubicin. While the team failed to find any significant evidence that exercise provided protection against negative cardiac side-effects, they did find that mice that exercised while receiving chemotherapy had notably smaller tumors than those that had chemotherapy alone. From the article:
Further studies will investigate exactly how exercise enhances the effect of doxorubicin, but the researchers believe it could be in part because exercise increases blood flow to the tumor, bringing with it more of the drug in the bloodstream.
“If exercise helps in this way, you could potentially use a smaller dose of the drug and get fewer side effects,” Libonati says. Gaining a clearer understanding of the many ways that exercise affects various systems of the body could also pave the way for developing drugs that mimic the effects of exercise.
“People don’t take a drug and then sit down all day,” he says. “Something as simple as moving affects how drugs are metabolized. We’re only just beginning to understand the complexities.”
Previously: Stanford preventive-medicine expert: Lay off the meat, get out the sneaks, From leukemia survivor to top junior golfer, Examining exercise and cancer survivorship and Study shows benefits of exercise for patients with chronic health conditions
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