How Might Relaxation Techniques Help Me If I'm Undergoing Cancer Treatment And When Should I Do Them?

Barrie Cassileth, Ph.D, Sloan

Question: Is it a good idea to exercise if I'm undergoing cancer treatment?

Answer:The issue of exercise and cancer is an especially important one, because it turns out that if someone has been a couch potato all of his or her life and then receives a diagnosis of cancer, if that person gets up and engages in physical activity, even walking briskly 20 minutes a day, you have an increased benefit in survival. The survival of those patients who do exercise is 50 percent better than patients who do not.

So this is something extremely important that patients can do for themselves that will actually affect the outcome of the disease. Exercise is absolutely essential. We offer a range of exercise programs -- everything from in-bed exercises for people who are still hospitalized, to chair-aerobics for patients who can't yet stand up to engage in physical activity, to everything beyond that. But you don't need to come in for classes -- you don't need even need assistance if you just walk briskly 20 minutes a day; that will greatly increase your chances of survival. .