Posts Tagged exercise for cancer

Bone Health and Cancer – Never an Easy Answer

By Margot Malin, Founder and CEO of Lots To Live For, Inc.

Have you recently been diagnosed with cancer and are evaluating treatment options? Have you completed cancer treatment and have learned that you have developed osteopenia or osteoporosis? If you are at any stage of the cancer journey then this blog post is for you. Bone Health and Cancer – there are no easy answers. But that doesn’t mean that you should not ask the right questions. Learn about risks and research your options.

Chemotherapy, steroid medications, or hormonal therapy may cause osteoporosis, or the thinning of the bones, which makes them weak and fragile, and puts them at risk of fracture. “Accelerated bone loss is a real issue in cancer care,” says Kenneth W. Lyles, MD, professor of medicine and medical director of Medicine Site-Based Research at Duke University Medical Center. Therefore, it is important to have an open discussion with one’s health care provider and/or oncology team to learn about the side effects that can be caused by specific cancer treatments and how they can be mitigated. You are your own health advocate and it is helpful to educate yourself and participate in decision making about your treatment plan. Knowing the risks to bone health before starting treatment, and how you can to maximize bone health is important. “Marked improvements in survival for many cancers mean that strategies to limit bone loss and reduce fracture risk must be incorporated into the care plans for nearly all patients with cancer.” (NIH.gov Osteoporosis and Cancer, in references)

What is Osteoporosis?

Bone Comparison

Bone Comparison

“Osteoporosis is a disease that causes bones to thin and weaken. It can cause bones to easily break. A risk factor is anything that increases your chances for a disease. Risk factors for osteoporosis include being female, family history, advanced age, low body weight, sedentary lifestyle choices, and low calcium and vitamin D levels. More than 10 million Americans have osteoporosis and as many as 40 million more have low bone mass and are at high risk of developing the disease.” (refer to the first reference at the end of this post)

“People undergoing cancer treatment are more at risk for osteoporosis. “Treatments including radiation, chemotherapy, and medications may pose a bone health risk,” says Richard Theriault, DO, MBA, professor, Department of Breast Medical Oncology, Division of Cancer Medicine, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston. “Radiation may have direct toxic effects on bone but remains a mainstay of treatment for bone metastases and local therapy post primary breast surgery. Radiation techniques have been designed to minimize risks to bone health,” he says. (see – first reference)

Chemotherapy, says Dr. Theriault, has a major effect on bone health by shutting down the ovaries and causing early menopause in premenopausal women. “This results in a hypoestrogen state with negative impact on bone density.” Further, Dr. Theriault explains that some medications, such as steroids, used to prevent nausea and vomiting may also have a negative impact on bone health. “In postmenopausal women, aromatase inhibitor agents used for adjuvant therapy to reduce the risks of cancer recurrence result in profound hypoestrogen states and thereby increase risks of osteopenia/osteoporosis and fractures,” Dr. Theriault says.” (see – first reference)

Be Proactive: How to Enhance Your Bone Health and Reduce The Risk of Osteoporosis

There are some positive and proactive things that everyone, including cancer patients and survivors can do to improve bone health. All of the following are within your control and are important to focus on and try to incorporate into your lifestyle.

Nutrition

In addition to foods rich in calcium and vitamin D, there are other supplements and nutrients that the body needs to increase bone formation and strength. These include but are not limited to: Magnesium, Vitamin K, Collagen, Essential minerals, and according to some sources progesterone (preferably bio-identical). To learn more, visit: Good For Your Bones Foods.

Exercise can build bone strength.

Exercise can build bone strength.

Exercise

Vital at every age for healthy bones, exercise is important for treating and preventing osteoporosis. Not only does exercise improve your bone health, it also increases muscle strength, coordination, and balance, and it leads to better overall health.  Better balance helps to prevent falls and related fractures.

Bone is living tissue and responds to exercise by becoming stronger. There are two types of osteoporosis exercises that are important for building and maintaining bone density: weight-bearing and muscle-strengthening exercises. Some examples of weight-bearing exercises include weight training, walking, hiking, jogging, climbing stairs, tennis, jumping and dancing. Resistance exercises include free weights, weight machines and elastic bands. Yoga and Pilates are excellent exercises for balance, strength and flexibility (accommodations should be made in certain yoga and pilates movements if you have already been diagnosed with osteoporosis so be sure to work with an educated instructor).  Exercise should be individually tailored to your needs and capabilities. Overall, most people should aim to exercise for 30 to 40 minutes three to four times each week, with some weight-bearing and resistance exercises included in the program. Studies have shown people with a sedentary lifestyle are more likely to have a hip fracture than those who are more active. Weight-bearing exercises force your body to resist gravity and stimulate cells in the body that make new bone. Strength training causes the muscles to pull on the bone.

The Flamingo Study: Balancing on one leg  3x per day can help prevent falls.

The Flamingo Study: Balancing on one leg 3x per day can help prevent falls.

Numerous studies have proven that people with better posture, better balance, and greater muscle power are less likely to fall and are therefore less likely to be injured or experience a fracture. An interesting study performed in Japan, sometimes referred to as the “Flamingo Study” showed that standing on 1 foot to balance 3 times per day for 1 minute each (6 minutes in total – 3 times on each foot for 1 minute each per day) was effective in helping improve balance and prevent falls. This is called the unipedal balance exercise and the study is entitled: Effects of unipedal standing balance exercise on the prevention of falls and hip fracture among clinically defined high-risk elderly individuals: a randomized controlled trial. According to the principal author, K. Sakamoto, “Unipedal standing captures the 2.75 times weight load to the femoral head. Unipedal standing for one minute is equivalent to the amount of integral load gained through walking for approximately 53 minutes.  Unipedal standing balance exercise in one minute 3 times per one day is useful to create the proximal femoral bone density and to prevent falls.”  This “Dynamic Flamingo Therapy” seems like an obvious exercise for anyone to do because the benefits are significant, it is easy to do, it doesn’t take much time, and it is free! There is no downside to trying it daily. You can stand on one foot when you are brushing your teeth or washing dishes. Create a reminder for yourself, such as placing an hourglass or egg timer near your sinks.

Avoid Tobacco Products

Several research studies have identified smoking as a risk factor for osteoporosis and bone fracture.  To learn more read this WebMD article about: The Effects of Smoking on Bone Health

Limit Alcohol Consumption

High levels of cortisol seen in people with alcoholism can decrease bone formation and increase bone breakdown. Chronic alcohol consumption also increases parathyroid hormone, which leaches calcium from the bone, she says. Also, excess alcohol kills osteoblasts, the bone-making cells. See more in this WebMD article about: The Effects of Alcohol on Bone Health

Prescription Pharmaceuticals

Although prescription pharmaceuticals are outside the scope of this article, it is important to mention that there are a number of drugs that are frequently prescribed to help rebuild bones. Many women have refused treatment of these drugs due to reports of debilitating side effects such as osteonecrosis of the jaw (rotted jawbones) and atypical femoral fractures (snapped thigh bones). Please click here to read: “Fearing Drugs’ Rare Side Effects, Millions Take Their Chances With Osteoporosis” an informative article from the NY Times about this topic. A more scientific review of bisphosphonate drugs can be found in this article from the Mayo Clinic Proceedings: Adverse Effects of Bisphosphonates: Implications for Osteoporosis Management

Forewarned is Forearmed

If you are beginning cancer treatment, be sure to ask about how the recommended treatment protocol will affect your bones. If you know that you are at risk for developing osteopenia or osteoporosis you can take the positive and proactive steps outlined above. If you are diagnosed with osteopenia or osteoporosis it is important to consult with your medical professionals to evaluate all the options and create a program that you are comfortable with. Consider a multifaceted approach to bone health including lifestyle modification, exercise and possibly natural supplements and/or pharmaceutical products.

References:

National Comprehensive Cancer Treatment (www.nccn.org) – Bone Health

https://www.nccn.org/patients/resources/life_with_cancer/treatment/bone_health.aspx

Safirstein Research – Osteoporosis

http://fromcancertohealth.com/osteoporosis/

Fearing Drugs’ Rare Side Effects, Millions Take Their Chances With Osteoporosis

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/02/health/osteoporosis-drugs-bones.html

Adverse Effects of Bisphosphonates: Implications for Osteoporosis Management

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2704135/

Atypical femoral fractures and bisphosphonate use: current evidence and clinical implications

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4480549/

NIH Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases National Resource Center

http://www.niams.nih.gov/health_info/bone/Bone_Health/Exercise/default.asp

International Osteoporosis Foundation Exercise Guidelines

http://www.iofbonehealth.org/exercise

Effects of unipedal standing balance exercise on the prevention of falls and hip fracture among clinically defined high-risk elderly individuals: a randomized controlled trial.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17013734

http://ebm.cgh.org.tw/gongzuofang/revman-material/literature-fall-prevention-cochrane2010/sakamoto%202006.pdf

The Effects of Smoking on Bone Health

http://www.webmd.com/osteoporosis/features/smoking-cigarettes

The Effects of Alcohol on Bone Health

http://www.webmd.com/osteoporosis/features/alcohol

Good For Your Bones Foods

https://www.nof.org/patients/treatment/nutrition/

Osteoporosis and Cancer

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3783531/

To read about one patient’s experience with Bone Health and Cancer please read “I Am Furious: Learn From My Cancer Story About Why You Must Become Your Own Medical Advocate” by Pat Wetzel, Founder of the Anti-Cancer Club.

About the author:

Margot Malin is the Founder and CEO of Lots To Live For, Inc.  After receiving her MBA from The Wharton School, she joined a major New York City investment management firm as a managing director and equity portfolio manager. She enjoyed analyzing companies and industries, investing, and earning competitive returns for her clients for almost twenty years. Lots To Live For was founded in tribute to her mother and grandmother who both fought courageous battles against cancer. Becoming involved in the cancer community allows her to give back to people in need by helping them through a difficult time in their lives. Margot enjoys mentoring other entrepreneurs and is also an angel investor.

, , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment

Exercises for Cancer Survivors – A New Book

by Carol Michaels, MBA, ACSM, ACE

Exercise is an important component of a cancer survivor’s recovery process. Emerging research suggests a decrease in breast cancer recurrence for those who exercise. A well-designed program can also decrease side effects and improve quality of life. Moreover, acceptance of exercise as part of a good recuperation and standard of care has been gaining momentum in the medical community.

Cancer patients should begin an exercise program designed to ameliorate the adverse effects of surgery and help them regain their pre-cancer fitness level. Exercise that focuses on functional fitness will help them be able to perform the activities of daily living and return to the activities that they enjoy.

Cancer survivors have questions about exercise. Which exercises should I be doing and which should I avoid? Can I exercise during chemotherapy? Can I exercise if I have lymphedema? How do I exercise safely with osteoporosis? Some cancer patients will need to exercise under supervision while others will be able to exercise independently. The type and scope of cancer and the overall medical condition and fitness level of a cancer survivor will determine whether or not a supervised program is needed. This book, Exercises for Cancer Survivors- Stretching and Strength Training, will be an essential guide for those who prefer or need to exercise independently.

 

Exercises for Cancer Survivors book

Exercises for Cancer Patients

For those who do not live near a major city, it might be difficult to find a therapist who has experience working with cancer patients. This book provides cancer survivors with access to fitness tools specifically created for their needs. It can also be a valuable tool for those who cannot afford health care, or are unable to leave their house. Exercise is a simple and affordable treatment.

I have taken my Recovery Fitness® exercise program and created this book to help you. You should use the exercises in this book as a guide to building an individualized routine that works and feels right for you.

This book will teach you how to prevent injury. Cancer survivors need to be patient; returning to your pre-cancer fitness level takes time and cannot be rushed. You will learn the implications of your particular surgery and the corrective exercises needed to improve recovery. Recovery Fitness Exercises for Cancer Survivors is a great way for cancer survivors to learn stretching and strength training exercises.

 

Carol Michaels, MBA, ACSM, ACE, has been a fitness professional for more than 18 years and is the founder and creator of Recovery Fitness®, a cancer exercise program.  She owns and operates Carol Michaels Fitness and Recovery Fitness and is a consultant, author, speaker, Pilates instructor, and cancer exercise specialist. She is on the advisory board of Living Beyond Breast Cancer and other cancer organizations, and has appeared on health related television programs.  The American Council on Exercise recognized Carol as a Trainer to Watch in 2011 and Personal Fitness Professional honored her as the 2012 PFP Trainer of the Year.  Carol developed and produced two DVD’s called Recovery Fitness Cancer Exercise-Simple Stretches and Recovery Fitness-Strength Training.  Both DVD’s can be found on her websites www.carolmichaelsfitness.com and www.recoveryfitness.net. Her new book, Exercise for Cancer Survivors, is a fantastic resource for anyone undergoing cancer surgery or treatments. Click here to order the book on Amazon.  The book can also be purchased on www.carolmichaelsfitness.com.

, , , , , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment

Tips to Improve Comfort During Cancer Treatment / How To Combat Cancer Side Effects

By Margot Malin, CEO and Founder of Lots To Live For, Inc.

 

Starting either chemotherapy or radiation oncology treatment can feel overwhelming. There are logistics and arrangements to consider, medical research and treatment options to review, as well as getting through daily tasks.  Patients often forget to explore how they can reduce cancer treatment side effects.  Reducing unpleasant and uncomfortable side effects is important because the more comfortable you feel during treatment, the more likely you will be to continue through treatments uninterrupted, and the better your overall frame of mind will be.  We will give you an overview of some simple ways you can combat the side effects of cancer treatment.

 

Lots to Live For, Inc.  offers a variety of products to help you reduce and relieve side effects of chemotherapy and radiation.  Many of the products have been developed by cancer survivors and thrivers who saw an unmet need when they went through treatment and decided to “pay it forward” by developing a solution. Many of these products are manufactured by small, innovative and entrepreneurial companies without a “national marketing machine” so they may not have recognizable brand names.

 

Radiation Skin Care

Radiation can cause many different skin reactions – including but not limited to dryness, redness, tenderness, burns, radiation reaction and radiation dermatitis. Some lotions and creams can be very effective at reducing these side effects. Highly effective brands include RADX radiation therapy, My Girls Skin Care (all natural) and 7 Cream (homeopathic). Gel sheets and pads such as CoolMagic hydro gel sheets or the Lind Skin Cooler Roll can be cooling and soothing, and can be applied directly, or over a radiation cream, providing intense relief. Explore products to help heal and soothe radiation burns at Lots To Live For, Inc.

 

Oral Care

It is a good idea to have your teeth cleaned, or other dental work performed before starting chemotherapy or radiation to your chest and neck area. Many medications will affect your mouth.  Use a gentle toothpaste, such as Biotene, and keep your mouth fresh and lubricated with gentle products such as Biotene or MouthKote Oral Balance can help to soothe mouth sores and enhance hydration.

 

Hair Care

Many chemotherapy medications can cause hair to fall out, and they can also make the scalp feel itchy and tingly. Explore the newly introduced Penguin Cold Cap to help hair retention during chemotherapy treatment. Thymuskin hair care topical products can help reduce hair loss and accelerate hair regrowth.  Alra shampoo and DermaQOL hair products can help ease an itchy scalp.

 

Nausea

Ginger is a natural product that can help nausea.  Biobands are acupressure wristbands that can also help.  Try Queasy Pops and Queasy Drops for added comfort.

 

Cancer Gifts

All of the products mentioned also make excellent gifts for cancer patients. If you are a friend, relative, caregiver, or co-worker consider a “gift of comfort” as an expression of your concern and support. Click here to find a collection of cancer gifts.

gift_of_comfort

Beyond personal care products that can help maintain comfort during cancer treatment we also share additional lifestyle suggestions.

 

Nutrition

There is a wealth of information dedicated to healthy eating during cancer treatment. One suggestion is: The American Cancer Society Complete Guide To Nutrition for Cancer Survivors.   There are many articles about superfoods, and the importance of reducing sugar in the diet. Remember to stay well hydrated! We suggest searching the internet for additional information.   The Anti-Cancer Club provides additional suggestions about nutrition.

 

Exercise

Research is increasingly proving that gentle exercise has many benefits. Physical activity can decrease depression and anxiety. Additional benefits from exercise may include the reduction of stress, increased confidence and reinforcement of other positive health habits. Exercise can also help the patient gain endurance, increase energy level and decrease fatigue, which may be caused by treatments. Studies have recently shown that exercise may in fact help prevent reoccurrence.

 

Items to Take to Treatment

Taking these items to treatment with you can help pass the time and keep you warm and comfortable.  Find a cheery and colorful bag to carry: a pen and pad so you can jot down medical questions, a journal if you like to write, an ipod or tablet computer, warm booties, a blanket, a meditation or breathing CD or phone app, a book, warm booties, Queasy Drops to keep your mouth hydrated and water or green tea for additional hydration. Remember to ask your oncology nurse whether these items can be used during your specific therapy.  Remember to dress comfortably too!

 

This article has offered tips to enhance your comfort during cancer treatment. If you find it helpful, please share it with others traveling a parallel journey.

Please visit us on facebook at www.facebook.com/LotsToLiveFor

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

5 Comments