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How Many Studies Does It Take? How Many Lives Must Be Lost?

I pride myself on being a science geek through and through. I understanding the scientific method, I understand retesting getting consistent results. But I think accepting results of scientific testing comes down more to the mighty dollar and marketing than to the betterment of human lives.

Fact: there are medications and chemicals used in manufacturing that are allowed to slip by. Medications that people pop assuming they can only do good such as pain relief meds, some of the chemicals used in our supplements (flow agents), chemicals in the products we use daily, we know are carcinogenic. But rigorous testing works in their favour, as they are allowed to be used until we do decades of research and invest dollars nobody has, except the companies producing them.

Active seniorsWe have brilliant studies to prove exercise for cancer prevention and recovery. But no, it’s only a study, it’s not proven and fully accepted, and there are only a limited amount of funds to further pursue and prove what we know can save lives.

The old expression an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Raise that to the power of at least three when it comes to exercise for cancer recovery. Yet, we are repeatedly hushed by, “it’s not proven”… “it’s at the study stage” …”it’s an ‘association'”.

Yes there is a general agreement as to exercise for disease recovery, but the protective and healing powers of exercise merit so much more. And of course, as with everything, there are contraindications for certain types of exercise for certain people, conditions… ever listened to commercials for prescription meds? The list of contraindications at the end of the commercial are longer than the promotional aspect of the ad.

Health Canada produced many years ago a questionnaire, “Par Q. Readiness to exercise”. We keep proving the healing powers of exercise, and the dangers of sedentary behavior — “sedentary is the new smoking” — so it begs the question, why do we have a questionnaire to exercise but not to be sedentary?

Our bodies’ are bound and gagged when there is a lack of physical activity. Our body cannot perform the many functions and miracles it needs to without exercise and physical activity.

There are brilliant studies to prove (an association?) cancer prevention and recovery with exercise and physical activity. Very painfully abbreviated, exercise is touted to help with:

  • Immune function
  • Digestion
  • Body fat management. Excess adiposity can severely sabotage cancer recovery
  • Psychological status
  • Cancer related fatigue
  • Preservation of muscle mass through treatment. Muscle is our BFF of life
  • Circulatory function. Preservation of heart and lungs through treatment
  • Bone mass
  • Mobility
  • Prevention of lymphedema
  • Treatment adherence
  • And the most fascinating aspect of all: the body actually responds to treatment better with exercise….of course the right exercise.

Senior Couple Exercising In ParkThe Wall Street Journal published a University of New Mexico study on breast cancer cells responding to chemotherapy better in exercised women.

“The hormone, called irisin, significantly reduced the number of aggressive breast-cancer cells in laboratory cultures and enhanced the effects of a chemotherapy drug commonly used to treat breast cancer, the study found.”

This is just one of many. Yet we still have health care professionals who minimize the power of exercise. Yes, we absolutely must get approval from our health care professionals for exercise.


Shira Litwack is the Director of International Relations and Master Trainer at, Cancer Exercise Training Institute and creator of Best in Health Radio.

MFN Industry Expert