I know when I have a cold or flu, exercise is not my priority, but I am one who believes in keeping moving even for a short time. The immune system is stimulated by exercise and it is one of the few well known factors in helping improve life with cancer. Regular activity, therefore, may lead to longer survival, as well.
Melanoma, and its treatment, can diminish a person’s physical condition and quality of life. The good news is that exercise can help improve overall well-being and it is safe for most patients.
During therapy, exercise can help with fatigue and anxiety, while reducing depression. Movement appears to provide benefit, from gym activity, yoga, and dancing to walking and even chores (although cancer is a good excuse to get out of doing the dishes!). Some research suggests that patients with advanced cancer who are receiving palliative care can benefit from exercise.
Once treatment is completed, activity can improve cancer survivors’ overall quality of life, vitality, fitness, fatigue, as well as reduce late-effects of treatment. In fact, studies suggest that people who are physically active after a diagnosis of breast or colon cancer have a lower risk of cancer recurrence and death from those diseases than inactive people. Strong physical activity three or more hours per week may also help people with other types of cancer to live longer, according to recent studies. Yet, only one in five American adults engages in the recommended amount of activity.
So, the final word is not in yet, but do discuss this with your medical team. I’ve worked with many patients and my unscientific opinion is that the physically fit folks seem to do better through therapy and thereafter, both mentally and physically.