Cancer and an Old Wonder Drug

by Sheldon S. Zinberg, M.D.

A recent study by the Macmillan Cancer Support found that only 20% of patients who have gone through cancer treatment are properly informed as to the very important benefits of exercise. You might say, “Don’t give me more bull about exercise and don’t try to tell me that exercise cures cancer.”  Well, exercise doesn’t cure cancer, but it sure looks like it helps to prevent it; and that makes it a Wonder Drug.

Here are some real examples shown in this study.  Exercise has been shown to reduce the recurrence of bowel cancer by 50%, and reduce the risk of recurrent breast cancer by more than 33%. While multiple studies have shown similar results, this new research shows that the message is still not being passed on to cancer patients. Why? Because according to Jane Maher, Chief Medical Officer, “It’s easier to tell patients to take it easy and rest.”  That simply re-enforces the myth that resting is always the right thing to do. It’s a myth that has to be broken by health care providers when advising patients who have been afflicted by cancer.

Don't Get Bent Out of Shape

By Sheldon S. Zinberg

There’s an old saying, “Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape.”

As we get older, our joints get stiffer and stiffer. Our muscles and tendons tend to tighten and our ligaments undergo increasing fibrosis—they might even become calcified. This makes them harder and less elastic. Together with arthritic changes in our joints, this tightening process leaves us less flexible and more prone to injury. When we twist an ankle or fall we have a greater likelihood of tearing ligaments and developing a fracture…all because of the lack of flexibility. This lack of flexibility even impairs our balance making a fall more likely. Even worse, perhaps we’re unable to avoid an oncoming car when we're driving or crossing the street. Why? Because we can't turn to look in both directions very well.

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