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This fact sheet, produced by Cancer Therapy Advisor, reviews how physical exercise can help to prolong overall survival and cancer-specific survival, particularly in people with breast and colorectal cancer. Exercise has also been shown to improve quality of life, and symptoms such as fatigue, physical function, mood, and cognitive function for people with cancer.
The mechanisms for how exercise helps cancer patients are not fully understood, but it is believed that the benefit gained from regular exercise is not just a result of reducing risk factors, such as body weight. It is thought that exercise can help to modulate cancer outcomes by influencing steroid hormone levels, boosting the immune system, decreasing inflammation, and reducing oxidative damage.