An Abuja-based oncologist, Dr. Kenneth Amobi, says aerobics can slow the growth of breast cancer, tumors and make the cancer more sensitive to chemotherapy.

Amobi said that a new study involving mice has proven that exercise can lower cancer growth.

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He stressed that the results raise the possibility that exercise may change the biology of some malignant tumors. This potentially makes them easier to treat.

He noted that scientists have discovered that solid tumors can create their own peculiar ecosystem within the body.

“As a tumor grows, it sends out biochemical signals that prompt the creation of additional blood vessels to provide the expanding tumor with more oxygen. Oxygen is important for cell health, including in normal tissue.

“But in some tumors, these new blood vessels begin to proliferate so wildly that they create jumble and tumble of tubes that can curl around and choke one another.

“And by choking one another it reduces blood supply and oxygen to the tumor. As a result, the tumor becomes hypoxic; it exists in an environment with little oxygen.

“That condition might seem desirable, since it is fundamentally unhealthy for living tissue to be starved of oxygen,” he said.

Impervious to treatment

Amobi said that unfortunately, hypoxia also can make tumors relatively impervious to treatment. He noted that chemotherapy drugs and radiation work better in conjunction with oxygen.

“It’s a bad sign from a clinical perspective when a tumor is hypoxic.

“There have been trials in animals and people of substances that alter the biochemical signals from the tumors and lead to slower, more normal blood vessel growth to the tumor and reduce hypoxia.

“But the benefits of this approach have so far been fleeting; eventually the blood vessels leading to the tumor tend to overgrow again like untended vines and hypoxia returns,’’ the expert said.