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  • Writer's pictureThe Beacon Today

Exercise uplifts cancer survivor

Updated: Nov 3, 2022

Cancer patients undergo mental and physical stress before and after any treatment provided, according to the National Library of Medicine. For cancer patient Barry Lawson exercise has been a getaway through his experience and has even motivated him to get up from bed even when feeling weary.

Physical activity cannot only benefit by aiding quality of life but it may help in reducing other types of cancers according to NLM.

The Cancer Related Fatigue Program at Palm Beach Atlantic University has been the catalyst for staying healthy during Lawson’s battle with pancreatic neuroendocrine cancer. After being diagnosed more than 10 years ago, Lawson has been on medication ever since.

“It’s slow-growing; it’s not the pancreatic cancer everyone is worried about but that is what they have been fighting,” Lawson said.

Lawson went about a year without any training because of tiresome treatment for his cancer. His ultimate goal was to get back into his routine of exercise, which he explains brought him energy.

The American Cancer Society defines cancer-related fatigue symptoms as including loss of energy or the feeling of being drained. About 80% of cancer patients experience these fatigue symptoms because of radiation treatments.

Lawson related to the fact that there are many days when he is simply too tired or worn out to get in the car and go to the CRFP.

He explained that his support system is what gets him in the car to go to his workouts.

Data from NLM has found that resistance training can reduce side effects during and after any treatment that a patient had undergone.

Marcus Lantier, Lawson’s trainer at the CRFP, explained that the process of measuring a patient's fatigue can be difficult but with the help of testing it eases the process of exercise.

“Each patient is a whole new story that I have to figure out,” Lantier said. “Building the right workout regimen is important to help with his or her fatigue symptoms.”

Doctors have increasingly changed the way they have prescribed exercise since the 1990s, National Cancer Institute stated. The study of oncology, cancer treatment, has progressed exponentially to the point that NCL states that exercise can be prescribed the same way as drugs.

Specifically noted in the NCI study has been aerobic and resistance training combined for an ultimate fitness plan for cancer patients. The study emphasized the fact that exercise should be more prevalent in knowing that exercise can be a treatment for cancer patients.

Lantier explained the multitude of tests that are needed in order to decipher what exercise can be given because of injuries or surgeries that may have occurred from cancer treatments.

“There is so much information that is needed to take into account when creating these exercises,” Lantier said. “It poses a major challenge because I want to give the best exercise treatments to my clients.”

Training with a trainer might provide more accountability but also allow the patient to feel more secure in knowing that the trainer is knowledgeable about exercise. Lawson expressed gratitude toward Lantier and his dedication to constantly learning what is best for his workout regimen.

NCI noticed that the major reason for healthcare providers not prescribing exercise is the lack of knowledge on what to prescribe and the safety of any exercise. Patients find programs that will guide them throughout a journey in the fitness realm.

Still, only 7% of cancer patients incorporate fitness into their daily routine according to the NLM while 80% showed interest in learning about adding exercise to their lives.

Lantier expressed nothing but joy to see someone like Lawson in the gym during his battle.

“He's been through the chemo and the radiation time and time again, but he has the strength and the mental toughness to get in the weight room,” Lantier said. “To know that this is going to benefit him giving him a better life, so he can give a better life to the people around him, inspires me.”

By Maria Teixeira

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