Keep fit to fight bowel cancer

This week (3-9 June) is Bowel Cancer Awareness Week and it serves as a timely reminder for survivors of the disease to keep fighting fit.

In the Federal Budget announced in May, almost $50 million was committed for increased screening for those at risk of contracting bowel cancer. But what about those who have already battled the disease? Following the recommended guidelines of taking at least 30 minutes of daily exercise goes a long way to keeping the disease at bay.

Bowel or colon cancer is the second largest cause of cancer related deaths in Australia, with 1 in 12 people being diagnosed by the age of 85. And for those who beat the disease, just over 60 per cent live longer than five years after diagnosis.

Only a small amount of studies have focused on the benefits of exercise, however, Exercise and Sport Science Australia (ESSA) recommend the following.

  • Aerobic and supervised resistance training are safe and beneficial. However, if you have had a colostomy, avoid excessive pressure on your abdomen.
  • Low to moderate-intensity exercise is recommended. Start off slow and increase your intensity.
  • Aim to undertake 30 minutes of daily exercise at least three times a week. If you’re fitness level aren’t great, do six times five minutes sessions to achieve your 30 minutes.

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