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Exercise may help ward off cancer's return

By Kat Carney
CNN Headline News

Experts recommend choosing an exercise program or facility that specializes in cancer.

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(CNN) -- For the nearly 10 million U.S. cancer survivors, key ways to protect against a recurrence of illness include maintaining a healthy weight and diet and exercising, the American Cancer Society recommends.

These are no guarantees, but they can help, said Colleen Doyle, the society's director of nutrition and physical activity.

To help educate patients about life after cancer treatment, Doyle and other experts have co-authored a consumer friendly guide that separates fads and frauds from choices backed by scientific data.

While cancer patients may be familiar with some of the information, newer guidelines for exercise may come as a surprise.

In the past, some cancer patients were discouraged from exercising, but nowadays such advice isn't necessarily the case.

First and foremost, cancer patients and their doctors should choose an appropriate activity -- for instance, a women recovering from a mastectomy may not do the same exercises as a man with leukemia.

Experts also recommend choosing an exercise program or facility that specializes in cancer. Some of these suggest getting active after the first two chemotherapy cycles.

But exercise isn't just recommended for cancer patients who are overweight.

The latest guidelines suggest that heavy and thin cancer patients who exercise can reap benefits, including better moods.

The American Cancer Society publishes these guidelines in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, which is available free online. The exercise guidelines are from the September/October 2003 issue.

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