People who have had cancer often experience ongoing pain, but a new study reveals that being physically active can help reduce its intensity. The research, led by the American Cancer Society, is published in the journal Cancer.
Although physical activity has been shown to reduce various types of pain, its effects on cancer-related pain are unclear. To investigate this, the research team analyzed information from 51,439 adults without a history of cancer and 10,651 with a previous cancer diagnosis. Participants were asked how they rated their pain on average, with responses ranging from 0 (no pain) to 10 (worst pain imaginable), and whether they practiced physical activity regularly. Based on participants' responses, the research found that, for people who had had cancer in the past and for those without a history of cancer, greater physical activity was linked to lower pain intensity.
The magnitude of the association was similar for both groups studied, indicating that exercise may reduce cancer-related pain just as it does for other types of pain studied in the past. US guidelines recommend 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) to 300 minutes (5 hours) per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, or 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes) to 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes). minutes) per week of vigorous intensity aerobic activity.
Among participants with a past cancer diagnosis, those who exceeded guideline deadlines were 16 percent less likely to report moderate to severe pain than those who failed to meet them. Furthermore, compared to people who remained inactive, those who were constantly active or became active as adults reported less pain.
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