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Fears 'prevent cancer sufferers from becoming physically active'

Published 12/06/2016

A range of anxieties are stopping cancer sufferers from getting more active, despite a range of health benefits
A range of anxieties are stopping cancer sufferers from getting more active, despite a range of health benefits

Cancer sufferers struggle to get physically active because of a range of worries, despite evidence indicating it can reduce the risk of dying from the disease, research shows.

Findings of a study undertaken by YouGov for Macmillan Cancer Support revealed the top concern was being able to find a toilet - with 36% of the 1,011 cancer sufferers polled citing this as an issue.

The data being launched at the Cancer Data and Outcomes Conference in Manchester on Monday, also highlights that 31% said they felt uncomfortable getting active in public and 24% felt unable to wear gym kit or a swimming costume.

Because of the consequences of treatments such as scarring, weight changes, or incontinence, cancer can impact a person's self-esteem.

Macmillan Cancer Support, wants to encourage people affected by the disease to find an activity they enjoy in a bid to promote the benefits of being physically active.

Lynda Thomas, chief executive at the charity, said surgical scars, the need to go to the toilet frequently, or feeling low in energy - getting active can be "daunting" for those suffering from cancer.

"But the benefits of being physically active for someone who has been diagnosed with cancer are too important to ignore," she added.

"Not only can it reduce the risk of dying from the disease, it can also lower the chances of it coming back.

"Being active doesn't have to mean hitting the gym in Lycra or doing anything you're not comfortable with.

"We recommend that people start out small and work up to a level that is right for them."

Providing tips to help people get active, the charity recommend setting goals, walking or cycling to the shops, taking the stairs instead of the lift, only doing as much as you can and getting friends involved.

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