Cancer is a disease that results from abnormal tissue growth (a neoplasm) caused by unregulated cell proliferation, characterized by a partial or complete lack of structural organization and lacking functional coordination with normal tissue. A malignant neoplasm can metastasize and travel to other parts of the body and can be fatal if left untreated. It is the 2nd leading cause of death worldwide behind cardiovascular disease with approximately 40% of Americans developing cancer in their lifetime, increasing to 28.4 million people worldwide by 2040.
Female breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer, but has relatively low mortality rates, whereas lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death. Each type of cancer presents unique treatment requirements however, all cancers are positively impacted with exercise interventions.
Nearly $160 billion was spent on cancer treatment in the US in 2020 leading to a heavy financial burden on individuals and the health care system. However, the 5-year survival rate of all cancers is approaching 70% as treatment options improve.
Exercise has been shown to play a positive role in the treatment of cancer across the timeline from diagnosis to treatment to survivorship.