A study is launched in Italy, built together by patient doctors and CONI, with the aim of scientifically demonstrating the positive effects of sport in women with cancer
Every year over 181 thousand women are affected by cancer in our country. Practicing a sport at least three times a week improves the quality of life and, for some cancers, it reduces the risk of recurrence. By now, many scientific studies, conducted on millions of people, have shown how regularly practicing sports helps prevent and treat over 40 diseases among the most widespread in the world, including various types of cancer. And to heal faster and significantly reduce the risk of relapse, even in the case of serious diseases such as tumors. It was born for this the Catalina studio, the new scientific project supported by the Together Against Cancer Foundation which saw the collaboration of health facilities, cancer voluntary associations and sports clubs to define together the best care experience for cancer patients.
Sport as a drug
The objective of the study how to build a path for the patient that integrates oncology, nutrition, psychology and sport in order to improve the prognosis and quality of life of the sick. The trial was designed together by doctors and patients starting from initiatives taken by the Italian Cancer Patients Association (Aimac) and from the experience of the Rosaremo association, which for 5 years, on the initiative of its president Simona Lavazza, has been offering women with cancer breast rowing routes. Sport can be considered a “drug”, a main player in primary and tertiary cancer prevention and an adjuvant in cancer treatment – he explains Silvia Novello, president of Women against lung cancer in Europe (Walce) and professor of Oncology at the University of Turin, promoter and scientific director of the initiative -. now scientifically proven by numerous researches conducted in recent years. With the Catalina study we want to offer a tangible contribution to research with a survey that prospectively evaluates whether it is possible to help women in their path of illness through a sport as beautiful as rowing. Tumors affect a total of over 1 million and 900 thousand patients. Fortunately, survival rates are increasing and this fact makes research projects increasingly necessary that can guarantee a better response to therapies and more effective rehabilitation, in order to guarantee quality as well as quantity of life. Some forms of cancer, such as lung cancer, are on the rise especially among women. New solutions must therefore be found to support women also in prevention and rehabilitation.
For which cancers the danger decreases
A review of nine studies conducted on more than 755,000 people by researchers at the US National Cancer Institute showed that exercise, in the doses recommended by the WHO, associated with a statistically significant lower risk of developing 7 of the 15 cancers studied, with a reduction that increases with increasing physical activity: colon cancer (8% -14% lower risk in men), breast (6% -10% lower risk), endometrial cancer (risk less than 10% -18%), kidney (less than 11% -17% risk), liver (less than 18% -27% risk), myeloma (less than 14% -19% risk) and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (11% -18% lower risk in women). Not only is the likelihood of getting sick lower among people who practice regular exercise at the right doses (each according to their possibilities), but it also helps to reduce the risk of relapse by 30%. Sports practice can then positively affect side effects of cancer therapies (such as fatigue or chronic fatigue), about anxiety and pain perception. In addition, it can improve mood, increase energy and promote social inclusion, thus combating loneliness and depression, which are often common in those facing cancer. More and more women are able to defeat tumors – she says Francesca Tracl, vice president of the Together Against Cancer Foundation -. The national helpline of Aimac receives every day many requests from patients and caregivers on the possibility or not to play sports during and after the therapies: this opportunity must be better analyzed through specific studies.
The Catalina studio and rowing
The project will engage 100 patients in the practice of rowing for 12 months, with the aim of measuring the benefits in terms of outcome and experience of care and to experiment how to organize the treatment path by enhancing the collaboration between the various medical specializations, voluntary associations and rowing clubs. The health conditions of women, including from a nutritional and psychological point of view, will be analyzed through an initial screening, and then reassessed at 3, 6 and 12 months. Rowing will help study participants recover arm and trunk movements, with advantages even in the case of severe neoplasms in patients who maintain a fair performance status. Patients from various Italian hospitals were involved in the project and enrolled: San Luigi Orbassano in Turin, Humanitas Gavazzeni in Bergamo, IOV in Padua, Regina Elena National Cancer Institute in Rome, Perrino Hospital in Brindisi, Pascale National Cancer Institute in Naples. In order to carry out the rowing activities, the following were involved: the Circolo dei Canottieri of Caprera of Turin, the Circolo Aniene and Deportivo of Rome, the Circolo Savoia of Naples, the Circolo dei Canottieri of Padua, the Italian Naval League section of Barletta. Various patient associations will then be involved in the recruitment and accompaniment of the sick, including Rosaremo, Cuore di Donna, WALCE, with the patronage of the Italian Federation of Voluntary Associations in Oncology. The sports program envisaged by the project is the adapted physical activity which was the extension of the scientific project. It is about exercises adjusted on the basis of the needs of the individual patient, by type, quantity, duration, frequency and intensity. A coach will accompany the participants for the entire duration of the initiative, with a personalized training plan. In case of specific needs, a physiatrist will also be available.
The benefits of rowing
We are excited to participate in this initiative, because we have always been involved in promoting physical activity in the entire population – he explains Carlo Mornati, CONI secretary general -. Sport can have a social and medical value, the sedentary nature that is still too widespread a “disease” in Italy must be countered. And this must also happen in a very particular category of people such as cancer patients. The participation of CONI and the Italian Rowing Federation will also allow the project to identify which new training courses to develop to support new figures who help cancer patients in the correct practice of a sporting activity. Sport and health represent a relevant combination – he underlines Giuseppe Abbagnale, president of the Italian Rowing Federation -. necessary to find out how physical activity can interact with medicine, supporting it and improving people’s quality of life. We hope that this study will provide important answers for many women. At the same time, it will help promote our sport to more people. Rowing is a mixed aerobic and anaerobic sport – he adds Attilio Parisi, rector of the University of Rome Foro Italico -. It can be very demanding on a cardiovascular and respiratory level and therefore offers many benefits at the musculoskeletal level, putting almost the whole body in motion at the same time. This is why it should also be better analyzed for the help it could provide to cancer prevention. For example, lung cancer is on the rise due to the increasing prevalence of smoking among women. and many patients are unable to stop even after diagnosis – he concludes Francesco Cognetti, president of Together against Cancer -. Other neoplasms, on the other hand, such as breast cancer, affect a very particular part of the female body. Sport can always represent an ally of female well-being, even for that of those who are facing a neoplasm.
November 8, 2021 (change November 8, 2021 | 12:44)
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