HISTORICALLY, people with breast cancer may have been told to "take it easy" when undergoing gruelling treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation.
But exercise has become "part of the prescription" in the prevention, recovery and recurrence of breast cancer.
Professor Erica James, a public health professor at the University of Newcastle and researcher at HMRI, will talk about the role of exercise in the treatment of breast cancer during a virtual Q&A on Thursday.
"The evidence base has been growing for several decades, and the research and the guidelines are very strong now - especially for breast cancer," Professor James said. "Our recommendation is absolutely the opposite of rest, even if someone is suffering from cancer-related fatigue.
"Historically, we would have said rest more, have naps. What we now know is actually one of the best treatments for cancer-related fatigue is increasing your activity levels, as a package with sleep hygiene recommendations, and we get better outcomes than the pharmacological treatments across a range of outcomes.
"More recently, we've also been able to demonstrate that being physically active can actually prevent the breast cancer coming back.
"That's a really compelling argument for women who may be feeling a bit hesitant about commencing an exercise program."
Professor James said the positive impact of physical activity was "quite independent" of healthy weight management or weight reduction.
"We want 150 to 300 minutes of moderate intensity activity - like walking, swimming or cycling, or between one and two hours of more vigorous activity," Professor James said. "A lot of women meet that recommendation, but the one they often don't is the two sessions of muscle-strengthening activities two days a week."
Hosted by the Newcastle-based oncology research organisation Breast Cancer Trials, the virtual Q&A aims to help people navigate the current risks and research with top experts.
Associate Professor Prue Francis will provide a research update, Associate Professor Nicholas Wilcken will talk about risks, and Professor Geoffrey Lindeman will talk about prevention and the BRCA-P clinical trial.
"Often it's a really unexpected diagnosis, and it's very turbulent undergoing treatment and managing the symptoms and side effects," she said. "My advice and news around the positive impacts you can have from exercise is a helpful, practical way to improve their wellbeing and risk profile."
Register for the event at eventbrite.com.au/e/breast-cancer-2021-research-risks-and-recovery-registration-132884618471.
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