Tumors can be prevented with exercise, studies say


Researchers from the University of Copenhagen have come up with a study that associates intense exercise with reduced tumor growth. The respective research was published in the journal Cell Metabolism. It states that physical activities can potentially slow down the growth and size of tumors among individuals.

It has been centuries that healthcare experts declared exercise crucial for the overall well-being. There are several studies in favor of the fact that physical activities hinder tumor growth. Furthermore, their findings indicate that exercises aid the efficacy of cancer therapies.

This study also stresses the importance of regular physical activity for patients with cancer. People reportedly develop depression after receiving a cancer diagnosis. Exercise may not only help them with the tumor size and growth but it may also have positive psychological effects as well.

What does the study reveal?

The results of the study imply that intense exercise can cause a 50 percent reduction in growth, size, and incidence of cancer tumors. Moreover, it suggests that exercise can boost cancer-fighting immune cells, or natural killer cells (NK cells). The research was conducted employing mice but the researchers anticipate that the same results can be reciprocated with human participants.

The natural cancer-fighting immune cells primarily control and regulate the tumor size. The researchers have found that a high-intensity exercise causes adrenaline to rush which helps boost NK cells. Moreover, exercise pushed these cells toward liver, lung, and skin tumors.

In order to confirm that the increase in the number of NK cells at the site of the tumor was directly responsible for the size reduction, the mice were depleted of the NK cells. Without the NK cells, the subjects experienced normal tumor growth even if they exercised and had a full suite of other immune cells.

Moreover, the research enumerates that blocking adrenaline also blunted the cancer-killing benefits of exercise. Pernille Hojman, the study’s senior author, noted that high-intensity exercise is beneficial in provoking a good epinephrine surge and the consequent recruitment of NK cells.

Exercise can prevent cancer in other ways

Another study at Kansas State University evaluates prostate cancer tumor growth in rats. It shows that exercise can fight cancer in different ways. The results of the study imply that exercise increases blood flow which helps slow the spread of cancer in the rat subjects.

For this study, the researchers divided the rats into two groups. One group was made to exercise and the other one was sedentary. The exercising group showed a 200 percent increase in the blood flow to the tumors. The tumors, when exposed to abundant oxygen-rich blood, had a much lower tendency to metastasize. In this way, spreading of cancer to other parts of the body was hindered.

A separate study states that aerobic exercise brings about normalcy to human breast cancer tissues. The researchers of the study noted that physical activity helps the cancer-affected tissues to return to their pre-tumor state. In this way, the development of more aggressive and dangerous tumor growth can be prevented.

All of these studies demonstrate that exercise or physical activities serve as a conventional yet effective treatment to tumors. As compared to chemotherapy, this can serve potentially with lower side effects.





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Areeba Hussain
The author is a Medical Microbiologist and healthcare writer. She is a post-graduate of Medical Microbiology and Immunology. She covers all content on health and wellness including weight loss, nutrition, and general health.


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