HCB2’s Fight Right initiative includes support and education for cancer patients and community members to Nourish.Move.Breathe. We eat, move, and breathe every day to remain not just well, but alive! So, how are you doing these activities? Do you breathe shallow or take in large, diaphragmatic breaths? Do you move more than you sit throughout the day? Do you eat clean or reach for quick, processed foods. We offer services and information to encourage mindfulness as we “do” life each day.
Research reveals cancer patients can derive numerous wellness benefits with just 30 minutes of physical activity 3x/week and resistance training 2x/week. Cancer outcomes are more positive when the cancer patient has exercised through treatment and into survivorship. Thanks to training through the Certified Exercise Training Institute (CETI), HCB2 provides leadership and direction for our most vulnerable population to remain active. Read more from the Mayo Clinic regarding the positive outcomes of exercising through cancer treatment!
Check out the HCB2 Exercise and Cancer podcast with guest Andrea Leonard, Founder of Cancer Exercise Training Institute (CETI). She discusses the role of exercise during cancer treatment and reviews the simple movements that can help reduce the chance of lymphedema. Below is information about HCB2’s support meetings, the risks and precautions of lymphedema, and a list of actions to take to protect yourself at the gym.
Important Exercise Information
Reducing the risk of Lymphedema: Lymphedema is caused by a blockage of the lymphatic system causing excess fluid to collect in the tissues which leads to swelling and an increased chance of infection. Lymphedema is a serious concern and any signs of swelling, burning, numbness, heaviness, and/or heat in the feet toes, legs, fingers, hands, arm (area at risk) needs to be medically addressed immediately. We encourage cancer patients to ask their doctor about their risk for lymphedema based on their surgical procedures and cancer treatment plan.
Precautions to avoid lower extremity and upper extremity lymphedema:
Avoid insect bites, burns, and cutting cuticles during manicure or pedicure on affected extremity.
Do not overheat by avoiding saunas, whirlpools, steam rooms, hot baths, and sun bathing.
Use an electric razor to shave.
Avoid tight fitting jewelry on affected arm.
Avoid vigorous repetitive movements against resistance in the area at risk.
Avoid tight bands in stockings or undergarments.
Avoid blood pressure or blood drawn on the affected arm.
Refrain from repetitive house cleaning, i.e. scrubbing, pushing/pulling.
Avoid carrying hand bag over the shoulder on affected arm.
Always wear compression stocking as prescribed by your physician.
There is a 30% chance of experiencing lymphedema if the patient has axillary nodes removed AND received radiation as part of their treatment protocol. The risk drops to 15% if there was no radiation and axillary nodes were removed, and the risk drops to 8% if only sentinel nodes were removed and radiation was not part of the treatment plan. The risk of lymphedema does rise if the patient is overweight; however, there is NO risk for lymphedema if the patient had no removal of lymph nodes and no radiation.
Actions to take if you chose to exercise at your local gym while receiving cancer treatment:
Take your own container or bottle of water to avoid using the water fountain.
Avoid saunas, whirlpools, steam rooms, and chlorinated swimming pools. Infrared saunas can be used with doctor’s permission.
Bring your own towel and mat.
Wear gloves during resistance training.
If experiencing neuropathy in the hands, avoid holding weights.
Take numerous water breaks.
Do not exercise with a fever.
No exercise if experienced vomiting or diarrhea within last 36 hours.
Hitting Cancer Below the Belt recommendations:
Before starting an exercise program, please consult with your medical provider. HCB2 highly encourages walking in fresh air, light resistance training, stretching to maintain flexibility, and performing balance exercises during cancer treatment. These basic fundamentals can be modified based on the cancer patients former training level, type of cancer, surgeries, and cancer treatment. More or less can be performed based on a complete assessment by a qualified cancer exercise specialist.
Remember, if you are going to fight, Fight Right! Every day be aware of how you are nourishing your body, how you are breathing, and how much you are moving. Cancer hates that!