How Exercise Decreases Breast Cancer Recurrence Risk

How Exercise Decreases Breast Cancer Recurrence Risk

Are you, Survivor Sister, aware of the many positive impacts that physical activity has for our longevity and quality of life?

 

I understand that getting the recommended amount of daily physical activity is not easy, especially when we’re already dealing with the many adverse debilitating side effects of our cancer treatments.

 

I get that it honestly feels like being physically active is counterintuitive and that rest, massages and comfort foods are all that should be required, but in reality, we are metabolically unable to recover properly when we are living a sedentary lifestyle.

 

There are many studies that have long established that by engaging in safe, regular physical activities, that we as breast cancer survivors can gain many tremendous health benefits, including: 

 

Weight loss – physical activity burns calories, balances hormones, lowers blood pressure, reduces inflammation, chances of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Less chronic fatigue – physical activity reduces fatigue by building up endurance, stability, and balance.

Less insomnia – physical activity depletes our energy sources by giving us a physical outlet that enables us to sleep more soundly and balance our hormone melatonin (anticarcinogenic antioxidant). 

Less joint pain – physical activity increases circulation, lubricates and keeps our joints flexible.

Less muscle pain – physical activity helps circulation, increases and strengthens our muscle mass and flexibility.

Less bone ache – physical activity improves bone health and reverses the loss of bone density which lowers the risk of developing osteoporosis.  

Less lymphodema – physical activity increases circulation and flexibility which reduces inflammation, swelling, and pain.

Less peripheral neuropathy- physical activity increases blood circulation, oxygen, and nutrients, this helps repair nerve cells and reduces numbness, tingling and pain.

Less mental stress –  physical activity is a profound anti-depressent, it helps us by regulating our endorphins, cortisol, serotonin, and dopamine levels which gives us a strong sense of well-being. 

 

Science has proven that the more physical activity we engage in, the more our side effects will be reduced, which automatically gives us more energy we have to do the things we most enjoy.

 

But there is an even more important reason that exercise cannot be prioritized enough.

 

There are numerous studies that support that increasing or decreasing our physical activity has a huge impact on our risk of breast cancer recurrence and mortality, here is just one of many examples:

 

Journal of Clinical Oncology 26(24):3958-64 · September 2008, Reads:   This was a prospective observational study of 933 women enrolled in the Health, Eating, Activity, and Lifestyle Study.  Compared with women who were inactive both before and after diagnosis, women who increased physical activity after diagnosis had a 45% lower risk of death (HR = 0.55; 95% CI, 0.22 to 1.38), and women who decreased physical activity after diagnosis had a four-fold (300%) greater risk of death (HR = 3.95; 95% CI, 1.45 to 10.50).                                                                                                     

Wow! 

Survivor sisters, please know that this is not to scare or discourage you.  In this case, ignorance is not bliss. Knowledge is the key to our empowerment, it helps us prioritize and motivate ourselves. And it provides a path to enable us to live out our lives like we mean it. 

It’s no wonder that the National Cancer Institute, American Institute for Cancer Research and the American Cancer Association recommends regular, consistent exercise for us survivors. 

How does regular physical activity decrease our risk of recurrence and mortality? It reduces cancer-stoking estrogens, adipose (fat), inflammation, reverses insulin resistance and increases our metabolism.

How do we do this? Well according to the National Institutes of Health guidelines, we should be engaging in at least 5 hours of moderate-intensity activity, or 2.5 hours of vigorous activity per week. It’s a must, for us to include muscle-strengthening activities at least twice a week.

Evidence has proven that the more we exercise in both duration and intensity the more we lower our risk of recurrence and the more we increase our quality of life.

 

Scheduling and implementing physical activity into our lives must be a priority.

It’s also very important not to over-do it, (you may want to check with your doctor) and carefully build up your strength and endurance.

Here are some suitable exercises that you might want to incorporate into your plan:

Walking

Hiking 

Biking

Yoga

Palates

Upper body weight-bearing exercises, start light and build up.

Light swimming 

Light resistance bands and cables  

 

Engaging in physical activities that you actually enjoy makes staying on course so much more sustainable long term. 

 

If you would like support in building and incorporating an exercise protocol that includes motivation, accountability, and experience, you’re in the right place. Imagine the benefits that one-on-one coaching, from another Survivor Sister,  who has been where you are and knows how to get you to where you want to go, could provide you. If you are ready to begin a new chapter of your survivor journey; one that offers hope, resolution and reconnection, then apply now to join my Signature Program, The Survivor’s Code. A 12 Week Weight Loss & Wellness Intensive for Breast Cancer Survivors. Schedule your free strategy session, or download my free weight loss guide. Links below!

 

 

Download my *FREE* Guide to learn how you can start losing weight, lower your estrogen levels & reduce recurrence risk.

10 Ways to De-Stress & Lower Cortisol Levels

10 Ways to De-Stress & Lower Cortisol Levels

Being wheeled into the operating room to have cancer surgically removed from our bodies caused most of us to rightly feel acute (intense) stress, this sporadic stress prompted our adrenals glands to secrete the hormone cortisol into our bloodstream, which then flooded us with high energy glucose/sugar.  This response automatically raised our blood pressure, heart rate and immediately provided extra energy to our minds and muscles to enable us to fight, flight or freeze. (Hopefully, you froze).

After waking up from our surgery and about an hour after being given the thumbs up by our surgeon, our pancreas secreted the hormone insulin into our bloodstream which brought the high energy sugars/glucose, heart rate, and blood pressure back down to homeostasis (stable conditions). 

This response to acute stress was and is necessary for our survival and evolution.

Being a cancer survivor and struggling daily with the disruption and side effects of cancer and its treatments cause most of us to experience chronic (continual) stress.

   The three main chronic stressors of being a cancer survivor

  1. Mental/Emotional stress – cancer recurrence risk, imbalanced neurotransmitters, body image, weight gain, identity crisis, financial worry, family issues, work pressures, mortality worries, depression, fear, anger, anxiety, PTSD, etc. 
  2. Physical/metabolic stress – cancer treatments, body fat, menopause, health issues, poor diet, body pain, disability, fatigue, insomnia, hot flashes, poor focus, dehydration, sleep issues, physical activity, etc.
  3. Chemical stress – cancer treatments, prescription medications, synthetic hormone-disrupting chemicals such as artificial flavors, sweeteners, pesticides, herbicides, preservatives, plastics, heavy metals, airborne chemicals, detergents, dyes, etc. 

It is no wonder that chronic stress is the symbolic state that cancer survivors experience In fact, 90 to 95% of all cancer prognosis, progression, recurrence, and mortality are directly related to the (chronic) stressors of our environment and lifestyle.  

Having perpetually high cortisol, blood sugar/glucose, blood pressure, and insulin can unleash havoc in our bodies causing inflammation, disabling our immune system, increasing visceral (belly) fat deposition, stimulating the maturation of fat cells and significantly slowing down our metabolism which makes losing weight metabolically impossible. 

And since blood glucose/sugar is cancer’s main source of energy and high insulin is attributed to increased cell proliferation and circulation, having chronic stress promotes the carcinogenic (cancer-causing) process.

By purposely harnessing and altering our primary “happy” neurotransmitters (chemical mind/body messengers) serotonin, which regulates mood, appetite, and sleep and dopamine, which is linked to thoughts, emotion, memory, and reward we can reduce or eliminate our chronic stress.

10 ways de-stress and balance our cortisol levels.

  1. Utilizing cognitive psychology-based techniques to modify our thoughts, emotions, behaviors and physical patterns.
  2. Having a strong support system. 
  3. Prioritizing ourselves and taking actions to get healthy physically, significantly decreases the emotional fear of recurrence.
  4. Discovering and living our authentic truth and purpose.  
  5. Participating in the recommended daily exercise protocol for cancer survivors increases our endorphins which is directly correlated with antidepressive effects, mood balance and significantly reduces cancer recurrence (up to 50%). 
  6. Creating and following an organic, healthy anticancer nutrition plan that helps you lose weight, balances hormones and provides you with energy.
  7. Improving our emotional and stress responses by including the vitamins and minerals that balance our dopamine, serotonin and GABA levels. 
  8. Practicing good “sleep hygiene” and getting at least 8 hours is paramount to hormonal release, repair, and neurological pathway regeneration.
  9. Getting sufficient sunlight naturally activates serotonin (feelings of well-being) and provides us with much-needed vitamin D3.
  10. Reducing or avoiding synthetic hormone-disrupting chemicals and using water and air filters helps us balance our hormones.

  

Decreasing stress, losing weight, balancing hormones and lowering recurrence risk is completely possible by modifying our emotions, nutrition, and lifestyle.

  

Please contact me if you would like to know more about balancing your many weight and cancer-related hormones and are ready to engage in a higher quality of life.

Download my *FREE* Guide to learn how you can start losing weight, lower your estrogen levels & reduce recurrence risk.

How Breast Cancer Transformed My Life

How Breast Cancer Transformed My Life

My cancer journey began like so many others, I was diagnosed with stage I breast cancer with a 4.5cm grade 2 tumor (low risk). My bi-lateral (double) mastectomy was scheduled out for 4 weeks and then hooray! I would be cancer free and would be able to get on with my former life.

Two weeks before my surgery, I became concerned because I could feel that my tumor was growing rapidly. I called the oncology center and explained my situation.  I was told that tumor growth was actually a very slow process and that it just seemed to be growing because I was now more aware and focused on it…. So I conceded and politely let it go.

My date with destiny arrived, I was given general anaesthesia, underwent my surgery, woke up, and was informed that apparently my “slow” growing tumor had doubled in size to a full 9cm! 

This news definitely changed the trajectory of my life, my re-diagnosis was now a stage IIB with a grade 3 tumor (high risk).  I had to endure a port implant, chemotherapy, radiation, hysterectomy, diep flap reconstruction, expanders, fat grafting, lymphedema, ongoing hormone therapy and cancer treatment-induced menopause.  

shocked.

following my surgery, I was informed that apparently my “slow” growing tumor had doubled in size to a full 9cm

During this time I experienced and noticed the collateral damage of inadequate supportive resources for survivors trying to recover from the debilitating side effects caused by the cancer treatments. 

I was so  frustrated and disappointed for not having advocated for myself, for not insisting to be reevaluated and having had my surgery moved up.

I felt victimized and I argued with reality until I was exhausted.

I realized that I needed help. Through life coaching, I learned how to manage my mind and body. I began embracing the process and even became grateful for the experience.

What?  Stay with me here……

While staring down the barrel of my own mortality, my perspective of what was and was not important, was completely altered, I was forced to review my life, body and identity through a new pair of crystal clear lenses.

I feel incredible eternal gratitude for cancer requiring me to evolve into my own recovery crusader, for giving me the experience and gift of aligning my path so I could find my mission, my passion and my life’s work of supporting my survivor sisters in advocating and prioritizing their well-being so that they are able to take back the power over their health, wellness and recovery.

I appreciate that my cancer journey has allowed me to be an example of how beautiful life can be post-cancer and for the opportunity to serve my fellow survivors by helping them develop the mental resolve and attitude that is required for them to come out triumphant so that they too can capitalize on the rest of their lives.  

If you too have battled and would like to learn how beautiful life can be post cancer, you’re just one decision away from beginning to create the best years of your life.

Download my free guide today or schedule your free 20 min strategy session. Click one of the links below to get started!

Download my *FREE* Guide to learn how you can start losing weight, lower your estrogen levels & reduce recurrence risk.