Cancer patients can boost chances of surviving disease by 40% walking a MILE a day.
Yet 1.6 million of two million with cancer in the UK are not active at recommended levels – more than 330,000 new sufferers are diagnosed with the disease a year
Cancer patients can boost their chances of living by taking a daily 20-minute walk, a study claims.
Breast cancer patients who cover a mile at 3mph once a day are 40% less likely to die, a major analysis of health data found.
Prostate cancer patients’ death risk falls by 30%.
The old advice to take it easy after cancer treatment is now outdated, say experts.
Yet 1.6 million of two million with cancer in the UK are not active at recommended levels, they warn.
And more than 330,000 new sufferers are diagnosed with the disease every year.
The joint study by Macmillan Cancer Support and the Ramblers found that as well as cutting the death risk from the disease, exercise also minimizes treatment’s side-effects.
These include fatigue, weight gain and anxiety.
The analysis is based on patients doing 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week.
That duration of brisk walking at 3mph adds up to 7.5 miles, or one mile a day over 20 minutes.
This daily mile can be split up into separate walks if the patient is struggling to do it all in one go, say experts – but it must be brisk or fast walking.
The study also highlights the huge impact walking can have on the chances of a former cancer coming back.
A mile a day cuts the risk of breast cancer returning by 40%, while bowel cancer patients can halve the threat of recurrence by walking 50 minutes daily.
Macmillan chief executive Ciaran Devane said:
This research highlights that walking can save lives. We cannot continue to turn a blind eye to what is a very simple and obvious solution. Physical activity, such as walking, is a wonder drug and health care professionals must prescribe it as a standard part of cancer recovery.
Six hundred Walking For Health groups in England offer short, free organised walks.
Benedict Southworth, chief executive of the Ramblers – which runs Walking For Health with Macmillan – said:
Walking even short distances regularly can make the world of difference for those recovering from and managing cancer or other serious health conditions. Many of our walkers have long-term conditions such as cancer and find the companionship and fresh air a wonderful therapy.