- Question from Helen: I have metastases to the bones all over the body but I feel I should do some exercising to keep the flexibility and some muscle tone to cope for longer. Where should I go for suggestions?
- Answers - Miriam Nelson I would suggest yoga, tai chi, or Pilates, just in terms of helping with well-being as well as strength and flexibility and getting to the whole body. Hopefully there is a fitness center or YWCA near you that has programs.
Julie Gralow, M.D.
In somebody who has known metastases in the bones, it is important to talk with your oncologist and know where the spots are and whether the spot's at increased risk of fracture. Make sure your health care team is aware of your fitness regimen.
I think some oncologists are overly cautious in their recommendation to patients with cancer in the bones. Being involved in Team Survivor Northwest as their medical director, I have many patients with metastases to the bones who are very physically active. I have a team that participates in a triathlon every year. One year I had a woman who was training, and her oncologist called me and said she shouldn't be doing so much because of her bone metastases. I asked if any spots were at increased risk of fracture, and when told they weren't, I said I'd watch the woman to make sure she didn't have problems.
Indeed, when she completed the triathlon, her husband was one of the volunteers, and it was a great thing. She only lived a couple more months after that, and at her memorial service, her husband told me how much we were able to do for her in her last couple of years of life to allow her to participate and set goals, and when she crossed that finish line, it was her greatest accomplishment in the last couple of years. He thanked me for allowing her to participate when her oncologist had been so hesitant.
- Judith Sachs The power of the human spirit is so much stronger than we ever imagined!
- Miriam Nelson Many times, physicians are very cautious about exercise because they really don't understand the benefits, and they're worried just about the risks. Not always, but almost always, some exercise is much less risky than no exercise at all. I think you do need to be proactive as a patient.
The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Physical Activity and Breast Cancer featured Miriam Nelson, Ph.D., Julie Gralow, M.D., and moderator Judith Sachs answering your questions about the many issues related to physical activity and breast cancer.
Editor's Note: This conference took place in January 2006.
The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.
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