One study suggests that exercise can increase the effectiveness of cancer drugs and increase survival rates.
Scientists found that proteins released by the body to help repair muscles tired from exercise also attack cancer cells.
After proving their theory in mice, they analyzed human trial data from 75 patients with pancreatic cancer.
One group was asked to do one hour of strength-training exercise and 90 minutes of aerobic exercise per week before having surgery to remove their tumor.
Those who followed the six-week training program had an overall five-year survival rate of 50 percent higher than those who didn’t follow the regimen.
Scientists have long touted the benefits of exercise in terms of reducing people’s risk of developing cancer, but this study suggests it may also help people with the disease.
Scientists have found that people with pancreatic cancer and rats that are subjected to exercise are better able to fight the disease (stock image)
Researchers at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine in New York found that dousing mice with anti-cancer exercise for 30 minutes five times a week reduced the rate of cancer formation by 50 percent.
Another test in which rats regularly ran on a treadmill for three weeks reduced tumor weight by 25 percent.
Stimulating adrenaline through exercise prompts the body to produce more protein called interleukin-15.
This in turn enhances the ability of CD8 T cells, an immune system cell, to attack and kill pancreatic cancer cells.
What is pancreatic cancer?
Pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest forms of the disease, and about 95 percent of people who contract it die from it.
Joan Crawford, Patrick Swayze and Luciano Pavarotti all died of pancreatic cancer.
It is the sixth most common cause of cancer death in the UK – around 10,000 people are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer each year in the UK, as well as around 55,000 in the US.
What is the reason?
It is caused by abnormal and uncontrolled growth of cells in the pancreas – a large gland in the digestive tract.
Who has the most risk?
The majority of cases (90 percent) are in people over 55 years of age.
About half of all new cases occur in people 75 or older.
One in 10 cases are caused by genetics.
Other possible causes include age, smoking, and other health conditions, including diabetes.
Why is it so deadly?
There is no screening method for pancreatic cancer.
Pancreatic cancer usually does not show symptoms in the early stages, when it will be more manageable.
Jaundice and abdominal pain – around stage 3 or 4, when sufferers have already spread to other organs, they begin to develop telltale signs.
What are the treatment options?
The only effective treatment is to remove the pancreas.
This proves largely ineffective for people whose cancer has spread to other organs.
In those cases, palliative care is recommended to reduce their pain at the end of their life.
Researchers then analyzed the results of clinical trials in humans in 2017.
These patients were asked to do strengthening exercises for 30 minutes, which may include resistance bands, weight-training or yoga, twice per week.
They were also asked to go on a brisk walk for 30 minutes at least thrice a week.
He followed the regime for six weeks before undergoing an operation to remove his cancer.
Routine blood tests showed that the exercising patients had more CD8 T cells.
And looking at health records, the researchers found that these patients also had a 50 percent higher survival rate after five years.
The NYU researchers said the results of their study show for the first time how even a small amount of exercise can help treat pancreatic cancer.
He said this is important for pancreatic cancer because it has so limited treatment options.
Scientists hope the discovery will eventually lead to better treatments for people with the disease, which is often diagnosed too late and left with few options.
Dr Emma Kurz, an expert in oncology and lead author of the study, said: ‘Our findings show, for the first time, how aerobic exercise affects the immune microenvironment within pancreatic tumours.’
‘The work helped to reveal that activation of IL-15 signaling in pancreatic cancer may be an important treatment approach in the future.’
To further test the theory, the scientists also tested whether this exercise could enhance conventional cancer treatments on mice.
By itself, this immunotherapy was found to increase the production of cancer-killing cells by up to 66 percent.
But when the mice exercised, the production of cancer-killing cells increased by 175 percent.
NYU Grossman Professor Daphna Bar-Sagi, an expert in biochemistry and another author of the study, said the results suggest the potential exercise may have for pancreatic cancer treatment.
“Even mild exercise can profoundly alter the environment in tumors, indicating the potential for this approach in treating patients with devastating disease burden and few options,” he said.
The researchers said they now plan to host another clinical trial exploring the effects of exercise on patients with pancreatic cancer.
They published their findings in the journal Cancer Cell.
Pancreatic cancer is extremely deadly in part because of how difficult it is to detect and treat.
About 95 percent of people who contract it die from it.
Pancreatic cancer kills approximately 9,000 Britons each year. In the US, this figure is around 50,000.
The best chance of curing the cancer is surgery to remove the cancerous tissue, but only about 10 percent of people have this option because it is usually detected when the tumor has started to spread to other parts of the body. .
NHS advice states that adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity a week or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity a week.
They should also do muscle-strengthening exercises at least two days a week.