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Cancer is a disease of the cells, which are the body’s basic building blocks. Cancer occurs when abnormal cells grow in an uncontrolled way.

These abnormal cells can damage or invade the surrounding tissues, or spread to other parts of the body, causing further damage.

We know cancer is one of the ever-growing diseases in Australia with more than 120,000 new cases of cancer to be diagnosed in 2017.


Once diagnosed, the treatment of cancer can be a long and arduous journey, battling through the physical and mental pain.

Surgical removal of cancer remains the primary treatment for most cancers, radiation therapy, chemotherapy and other drug treatments are also used frequently as primary or adjunct treatments.

Although treatment has come a long way over the years there are treatment-related side effects that may persist for long-term survivors.

Common side effects of this battle include fatigue, pain, impaired immune function, negative changes in body weight and composition (an increased percentage of fat), worsened bone health, fluid build-up that causes swelling in various body parts (lymphoedema), and gastrointestinal (bowel) changes.


As for exercise physiologists, we understand the research to show strong evidence suggesting exercise can help reduce the risk and prevent some cancers.

Extensive research has been completed for a variety of cancers particularly breast, colorectal, lung and prostate cancers with a sedentary lifestyle the biggest link to the development of these cancers.

Due to the prevalence of these cancers, we as exercise physiologists encourage completing 30-60 minutes of exercise at least 5 days a week to reduce the risk of these cancers.


If you have been diagnosed with cancer, the evidence suggests that exercise can reduce the side effects of treatment such as fatigue and lymphedema. Not only can exercise reduce the side effects of treatment but it can physically, mentally and emotionally and overall quality of life as you battle through this journey.

As practising accredited exercise physiologists we have seen the positive effects of exercise not only in the literature but with our clients that we see day in day out. After treatment, these benefits will continue to improve increasing fitness and strength. If you’re currently embarking on this journey we at Optimum can give the tools to fight this battle and come out stronger, fitter and healthier!

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