Exercising through cancer treatment and post treatment can create positive outcomes.

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 certified personal trainer who specializes in working with cancer patients.

HCB2 Excerise and Cancer Podcast

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.

Additional Exercise Information

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!

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 the following: tight fitting jewelry on affected arm, blood pressure or
    blood drawn on the affected arm, tight bands in stockings or
    undergarments, carrying hand bag over the shoulder on affected arm,
    vigorous repetitive movements against resistance in the area at risk.
  • Always wear compression stocking as prescribed by your physician.
  • Refrain from repetitive house cleaning, i.e. scrubbing, pushing/pulling.
  • 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
  • Bring your own towel and mat.
  • Wear gloves during resistance training.
  • If experiencing neuropathy in the hands, avoid holding weights.
  • Avoid saunas, whirlpools, steam rooms, and chlorinated swimming pools.
    Infrared saunas can be used with doctor’s permission.
  • Take numerous water breaks
  • Do not exercise with a fever.
  • No exercise if experienced vomiting or diarrhea within last 36 hours.

If you’re going to fight, Fight Right! Nourish. Breathe. Move.

*The website is not designed to and does not provide medical advice, medical opinion, or treatment to any individual. provides current
evidence-based information for educational purposes only. The information provided on, or through linkages to other sites, is not a substitute
for appropriate medical or professional care. HCB2 does not condone using in place of a visit, consultation, or the advice of a proper physician
or other healthcare provider. Hitting Cancer Below the Belt (HCB2) is not liable for any information or service you obtain through this site.

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