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Exercise associated with longer survival after brain cancer diagnosis
Date:6/21/2011

d inoperable anaplastic astrocytoma since 2009, has been an avid proponent of the power of exercise during his treatment.

"I exercised regularly prior to my illness and I wanted to stay as active as possible," Cortes said. "But it was impossible for me to do things that I could do easily before. My first goals in physical therapy were to put on my shoes without tipping over and keep my equilibrium while walking and talking or walking and turning my head."

As he met and surpassed his early goals, he began walking for 30 minutes a day and last year joined a Zumba fitness-dance class at his local YMCA.

"I wanted to be able to exercise because it makes me feel alive again," Cortes said. He cautioned that exercise is no cure his cancer has responded well to chemotherapy but he said being active helps both physically and mentally.

"Exercise is a very good way to overcome the side effects of your disease," he said. "You can feel more positive about your life even if you are in a terminal state. The most important thing is to just do it at your own pace and do your best."

The Duke study demonstrates that if doctors know about their patients' exercise regimens, they will have a better way to assess long-term outcomes. Jones said an accurate prognosis is important to determine the overall health of patients, potential tolerance for certain types of treatment, and eligibility for clinical trials.

Jones said a major goal of his research is to discover why exercise may lead to improvements in survival following a cancer diagnosis.

"Discovering these mechanisms could provide new insights into cancer progression," Lee said. "It could also lead to novel studies where exercise is combined with certain cancer therapies to see if both interventions together are more effective at inhibiting cancer recurrence or progression, not just minimizing the adverse side effects of the cancer therapies."


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Contact: Sarah Avery
sarah.avery@duke.edu
919-660-1306
Duke University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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