New research says women who have gone through breast cancer treatments can reduce its return by 34 percent if they exercise after going through treatment.
Ten years ago, Gina Blakeley received a phone from her doctor that she can recall verbatim.
“'It is cancer. It’s very small. It’s very treatable. I don’t want you hanging up this phone and losing it...' which is precisely what I did, and then the whirlwind started,” Blakeley said.
The whirlwind was surgery, eight rounds of chemotherapy and 30+ treatments of radiation. “Chemo is…I’ll just say it eats away at your soul a little bit, just a little bit, she added.
Studies show that by exercising after treatment, women like Gina can cut the risk of return by one third.
“Adipose tissue, which is fat, basically, produces estrogen. That was my cancer, which was estrogen receptor positive, which means it was basically fed on estrogen,” Gina said.
Gina, inspired by her family, did something that she had never done before. “We had an elliptical. And I would get on that for maybe five minutes ...maybe,” She said.
Step-by-step, Gina has lost 130 pounds. To celebrate her five year anniversary, she walked in the Race for the Cure. “It was a very emotional thing, very emotional. It was my victory lap,” Gina adds.
While cancer can destroy, Gina used it to empower herself and those around her. “Breast cancer, while I hate to say it, was a blessing. It was. It really has changed who I am for the better” she said.
Only one in five women increased their activity levels by at least 30 minutes after being diagnosed with breast cancer, according to the study.
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