When I was going through my stem cell transplants, they were very insistent on making sure that we had at least 30 minutes of exercise every day. And as any person who has gone through the SCT process, you really do not want to do much of anything, but obviously as noted by Danny and Pat, there are benefits from exercise that are extremely important to the patients long term survival.
The majority of data on life expectancy, survival rates, and a reduction in the probability of relapse come from studies of the far more common forms of cancer. And as could be expected, the rarer the disease the less data that is available. I think that the data that Danny and Pat provide explains the biology of exercises benefits, and as a result we can hope that the experience from the studied cancers can transfer to multiple myeloma.
So what do some of the studies for other cancers show. Some of the more robust studies come in the area of breast cancer, and colon cancer. You can do your own research on these cancers, however, I will provide a few examples.
Dr. Meyerhardt, of the Department of Medical Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, is one of the country’s leading researchers on the impact of lifestyle factors on cancer outcomes. He stressed that regular non-strenuous exercise can significantly improve survival in people recovering from colorectal cancer. Colorectal cancer recurrence or death was reduced by 49% in the people who regularly exercised.
In 2005, Harvard researchers found that simply walking on a regular basis helped breast cancer patients. The study focused on about 3,000 women diagnosed with breast cancer who are part of the Nurses’ Health Study. Those who regularly walked three to five hours a week (or got comparable exercise) were 50% less likely to have a recurrence of their cancer than women who exercised less than an hour per week.
So, IF, and it is a big IF, we myeloma patients can obtain similar benefits from exercise, then it is time for all of us to get moving, join a gym, walk, ride a bike, and any other activity that your physical limitations will allow. Because a 50% benefit is a remarkable improvement to obtain without much cost or effort at all.
And as always, may God Bless your myeloma journey/ Gary Petersen editor@myeloma survival.com