Effects of Exercise on Cancer Patients and Immune Systems

Cancer and the Immune System


The link between immune function and cancer is fundamental in the development of our treatment plans. All patients begin their journey at Causenta with a series of tests to measure parameters like baseline immune function, environmental chemicals, vitamins and minerals, and the presence of important cancer-fighting cells.

In our decades of work, we have found that when immune counts rise over a certain threshold, the body has a heightened ability to beat cancer and prevent it from coming back. We monitor this threshold in our patients and have developed an algorithm for the type, amount, and intensity of exercise needed to stimulate immune parameters to fight cancer.

The Effects of Exercise with Oxygen Therapy on Immune Parameters in Patients with Cancer

Can Exercise Reduce the Risk of Cancer?

Benjamin Franklin famously advised that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” That is absolutely true, and lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking, eliminating heavy drinking, exercising, and eating more fruits and vegetables have become the public health standard to preventing cancer.

There is more. It starts with two little cells – the key to building your cancer-fighting army.

Cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) and natural killer (NK) cells are your body’s fundamental defense against pathogens such as cancer.  Exercise increases these important cancer-fighting cells. At Causenta, we fine-tune the exercise program to provide an even greater boost to your body’s ability to fight and heal.

For example, we consistently find increases in fighter cells when exercising both the upper and lower limbs at the same time. We also find that increasing the oxygen concentration in the air you breathe while exercising provides positive results in certain patients.

In one study, we took blood tests of individuals without cancer, exercising and breathing regular indoor air. With regular air, we saw an increase in natural killer cells to 950 cells per microliter, which is a great start.  However, when we increased the oxygen inhaled to 85% with the same exercise protocol, we saw the natural killer cells rise to an astounding 2,225 cells per microliter.

Multiply that difference by the roughly 27,000 microliters found in the human body. You can see the significant increase in cancer-fighting cells from higher oxygen concentrations and the correct exercise protocol! These conditions provide an environment ripe for cancer protection.

Exercise and Cancer Treatment

Do you or someone you love have cancer and have been instructed to “take it easy”?  Rest is often suggested out of an abundance of care and with a concern for safety. However, rest is counter to what your body needs to fight cancer and can have a negative impact on your health.  Without physical activity, it is difficult for cancer patients to keep their lean body mass high and to stimulate their immune system – two extremely important factors in fighting the disease.  

We have cared for hundreds of patients and performed countless studies. Regardless of the type of cancer, the age of the patient, or whether the patient is frail or weak, we continually see individuals defy their medical odds by adding just one important tool to their cancer-fighting toolbox – exercise. 

Our specific and individualized exercise model, along with nutrition protocols, have done the following for patients with cancer:

  • Eliminated the recurrence of cancer
  • Reduced side effects from chemotherapy and radiation, such as neuropathy
  • Added precious time and improved quality of life to individuals in hospice care
  • Boosted immunity to fight cancer and fostered health improvement after cancer eliminated
  • Helped the body eliminate toxins, allowing patients to prolong their chemotherapy treatment

What Other Doctors Don’t Tell You About Cancer and Exercise

How Much Exercise Is Needed to Fight Cancer?

We know through years of study that cancer patients have significantly lower cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) and natural killer (NK) cells versus non-cancer patients. CTL and NK cell values can be increased in cancer patients, both acutely (within the first 15 minutes of exercise) and chronically (over time). That means the first time you exercise, you make an impact, and with continued exercise, that impact grows.

We have found 90 minutes a day to be the amount of exercise needed to boost the immune system enough to beat cancer.  This can be broken into two to three sessions each day. 

What Is the Best Type of Exercise to Fight Cancer?

Both resistance training and aerobic exercise provide the immunity boost needed for patients to fight cancer.  Oxygen from aerobic exercise works to improve brain function, reduce pain, and enhance immunity. Resistance training helps patients maintain strength and lean body mass.

The specifics of exercise intensity, modality (types of exercise), and oxygen dosing vary greatly among patients. It is best to work with a professional group, like Causenta, that understands the relationship between exercise, the immune system, and fighting cancer.  Our patients come to our center for initial testing, and then we give the exercise protocol to do at home while monitoring their progress.

The benefits of exercise reach far beyond cancer. Patients come to us from around the world to improve immune function and beat cancer. Simultaneously, they’re also getting stronger, improving brain function, reducing joint pain, and improving their overall quality of life.  We invite anyone interested to come to our facility in Scottsdale, AZ, to see firsthand our patient results.


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8131 E Indian Bend Rd #125
Scottsdale, AZ 85250