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The most common cancer among women is breast cancer. The American Cancer Society estimated that in 2015, 40,290 women would die of breast cancer and there would be 231,840 new invasive cases and 60,290 new in-situ cases (American Cancer Society, 2015). The survival rates for women with the recurrence of breast cancer is lower. It is thus especially important to find any method for preventing the recurrence of this disease among women who are breast cancer survivors. Recently, researchers reviewed several studies to investigate the effect of exercise training on mediators of inflammation in breast cancer survivors. This article summarizes the findings of the systematic review through meta-analysis by data pooling.

Over the years, researchers have hypothesized various mechanisms for the etiology and progression of cancer. One of the mechanisms that has been widely recognized as having a crucial role in the development, progression, and the risk of recurrence of breast cancer is chronic inflammation. This study found that exercise therapy for cancer patients during and after anti-cancer treatment is effective because it helps to reverse the some of the adverse effects of cancer, such as depression, fatigue, and reduced muscular strength, without having any side effects. This positive effect could also be due to the fact that exercise has the capacity to reduce chronic low-grade inflammation. Researchers also found that serum concentration of some of the proinflammatory mediators, such as interleukin 6 (IL6) and IL2, increased due to regular exercise, while the concentration of other proinflammatory mediators, like IL8 and Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNFa), were reduced due to regular exercise. However, short-term exercise plans or acute exposure to exercise training will have only short term benefits. It is therefore important for breast cancer survivors to be on a long-tern exercise regime in order to have long-term health benefits (Meneses-Echavez,, 2016).

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Through this study, researchers also found that exercise impacts the levels of IL2. IL2 is involved in the differentiation and proliferation of the natural killer cells, which are the T and the B cells. Therefore, exercise can help to proliferate the T and B cells and therefore enhance the activity of the natural killer cells. Exercises cause muscular contraction, which helps to induce the release of IL6. The release of IL6 results in the increase in the levels of IL10, which helps to strengthen systematic inflammatory responses. Exercise also helps in weight loss and this study found that the reduction of adipose tissue (fat tissue) also helps to reduce the expression of proinflammatory cytokines, such as TNFa and IL1b ((Meneses-Echavez,, 2016).

The results of this study prove that exercise has a positive effect on the mediators of inflammation among cancer survivors. As stated above, inflammation is associated with carcinogens and the tumor environment and facilitates the growth and metastasis of the tumor; and exercise helps to regulate and control some of the key proinflammatory cells. Therefore, it is pertinent for women with breast cancer to be on an exercise regime both during and post treatment in order to have better physical fitness, function, reduce fatigue, depression, improve the quality of their life, and most importantly to reduce or slow the growth and metastasis of the tumor.


American Cancer Society (2015). Breast Cancer: Facts & Figures 2015-2016. Retrieved on 7th July 2016 from 046381.pdf

Meneses-Echavez, J.F., Correa-Bautista, J.E., Gonzalez-Jimenez, E., Schmidt Rio-Valle, J., Elkins, M.R., Lobelo, F., Ramirez-Velez, R. (2016). The Effect of Exercise Training on Mediators of Inflammation in Breast Cancer Survivors: A Systematic Review with Meta analysis. Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention 25(1): 1009-1017. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-15-1061

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