Childhood cancer & exercise

September is childhood cancer awareness month.

Cancer has negative impacts on a child's physical and psychosocial development. Not only does it affect the child but it is devastating for their families as well.

These kiddies undergo a variety of treatments that either directly or indirectly affect the way their bodies function. This includes the way their heart and lungs function, their cardiac fitness and their physical functioning. These treatments can cause physical damage or cause physical inactivity from being unwell.

This is why exercise is so important. Exercise, under correct medical guidance and supervision, is so beneficial.

According to the medical journal Exercise Interventions in Children with Cancer: A Review, exercise during treatment can serve as a preventative measure to avoid some long term physical effects. Being active before, during and after treatments can ward off deconditioning and potentially improve energy levels. Exercise can also be used as an aid to potentially reverse some of the effects of treatment, such as improving cardio and physical fitness.

The article discusses the effects and potential that an appropriate exercise therapy program has on a child patient.

  • The immune system is unlikely to be weakened

  • Improvement can be seen in cardio-respiratory fitness

  • Potential in muscular strength and range of motion

Cancer and its treatments are taxing which means that exercise therapy and its outcomes will and may vary. For more information, please take a look at the article Exercise Interventions in Children with Cancer: A Review, or contact a healthcare professional.

Please take a look at Machi Filotimo Cancer Project and see where you can assist or donate.

This post is based on my opinion and what I have understood and read from the article. It should not be used as medical advice. Contact a healthcare professional for further information or assistance

*Post reference: Huang, T. and Ness, K., 2011. Exercise Interventions in Children with Cancer: A Review. Hindawi International Journal of Pediatrics, [online] 2011(461512), pp.1-11. Available at: <> [Accessed 6 September 2020].

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