bowel cancer awareness

Next month the focus is on Bowel Cancer, so now is the perfect time to raise awareness of the disease. According to Bowel Cancer UK, somebody is diagnosed with bowel cancer every 15 minutes in the UK. That amounts to over 43,000 people every single year. Getting diagnosed with bowel cancer can understandably be terrifying for patients. However, with early detection and treatment, prognosis is vastly improved.

One question a lot of patients have when they are battling bowel cancer, is can I still exercise? Here, you will discover everything you need to know…

Can exercise help prevent bowel cancer?

Keeping active is known to prevent bowel cancer. One of the main benefits of regular exercise is that it helps you to maintain a healthy weight. This in turn helps to reduce the risk of developing a variety of cancers. Exercise is also thought to directly reduce your risk of bowel cancer by:

  • Helping food to move through the bowel faster
  • Reducing inflammation in the bowel

As it helps to push food through the bowel faster, anything harmful contained in your faeces doesn’t get a chance to hang around. There has been some evidence to suggest harmful particles found in our faeces can cause bowel cancer to develop.

When damage occurs in the body, it causes inflammation. This is may increase our cancer risk. When you exercise, it helps to eliminate inflammation, potentially preventing bowel cancer directly.

Keeping active doesn’t guarantee that you won’t develop bowel cancer. However, it can reduce the risk.

Should you exercise when battling bowel cancer?

If you have bowel cancer, understanding the dos and don’ts of exercising is crucial. How you should exercise, and for how long, will ultimately depend upon the type of treatment you are undergoing.

Patients who are going through chemotherapy or radiation therapy, will typically experience some side effects from the treatment. This can make it difficult to exercise, though doing so can combat some of the bad side effects of treatment. Those who have undergone surgery to treat the disease will need to wait until their body has fully healed before they attempt to exercise.

Those who are just getting back into exercise while undergoing treatment, should take it slow. Start gradually and increase the intensity of your workouts as your body gets used to activity. Generally speaking, moderate or high intensity exercises are safe, but you should seek advice from your healthcare provider or cancer nurse specialist.

Continuing to exercise after a bowel cancer diagnosis has also shown to reduce the likelihood of it recurring. Survival rates also improve with regular activity. However, it is important to make sure you are focusing on the right type of exercises. Any activity that involves abdominal workouts should be avoided. You should also take advantage of the numerous exercise aids available such as compression garments, guards, and underwear with a high waist.

Overall, exercise is recommended in both the prevention and management of bowel cancer. If you are concerned about exercising during your bowel cancer treatment, book a consultation today.