Latvian study finds strength training effective in helping to combat cancer

Global success has been achieved by a study conducted in Latvia on the impact of physical activities on cancer treatment, Latvian Television  reported July 16.

Within the study, women treated for breast cancer were active in the gym, and increasing muscle mass helped them recover more quickly after chemotherapy and surgery. These findings are now shared by international medical journals and sports medical colleges.

Two years ago, future doctoral candidate at the Riga Stradins University (RSU) Rūdolfs Cešeiko researched breast cancer patients at the Latvian Oncology Center as part of his doctoral work. It was one of the first serious studies in the world on the effects of active sport on treatment of breast cancer. Strength training in oncology patients has been shown to help to overcome chemotherapy more easily and avoid side effects such as vomiting, diarrhea or high fever.

Katrīna Visocka, who was treated for breast cancer, applied for the experiment herself. “I hadn't exercised much before. This was my first experience and I really liked it. These were challenges, of course, but it helped. “If a person feels it helps, then they continue, they are motivated to continue to do so,” Katrīna said.

Previously, studies in the world tested the effects of lower-intensity exercise, but this time the intensity was high. Women pushed themselves even to 90%, which proved to have a very positive effect on treatment.

“We need to risk in some way, under safe conditions, so that the workout effect is stronger than the side effects of treatment. And we've succeeded,” said Cešeiko .

This is also confirmed by former cancer patient Katrīna Visocka. She continues to visit the gym and says she even came to one of the last classes in the study immediately after treatment.

“I didn't feel those side effects that others usually feel. While I watched other patients, I felt I was stronger in every way. “Maybe I'm a stronger personality, but certainly this helped me to be strong, to withstand the whole process,” Katrīna said.

Rūdolfs Cešeiko's publications have already been quoted in various international journals and have also been sent to medical colleges in the United States.

It would be beneficial to introduce such fitness classes in hospitals throughout Latvia, LTV said. 

The President of the Latvian Association of Oncologists Jānis Eglītis said: “The basic condition is the room. There must be some sort of hygiene equipment, a shower, a locker room. But overall, these training devices don't take much space. Maybe regionally, support groups can also be formed, where people are trained accordingly. "

56 breast cancer patients participated in this study. Women attended strength training twice a week for three months.

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