Cancer Patients Can Benefit From Astronaut Exercise ProgramsAnusha Satish (Author) Published Date : Nov 15, 2019 07:50 ET
Connecting dots that are totally unrelated proves to be good at times, and this is one such thing where the challenges encountered by the astronaut who is on a spaceflight mission is like the cancer patients' experiments while undergoing chemotherapy and other treatments. Spaceflight and astronauts' voyage is not a subtle thing, but it requires a lot of determination to confront physical challenges.
Hence countermeasure programs would be given to astronauts to maintain their health. It was shocking and surprising to see the similarities between astronauts during spaceflight and the cancer patients during their treatment. "The ailments both confront were losing the muscle mass, bone demineralization, and heart function changes," said Jessica Scott Senior author and an exercise physiology researcher at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center's Exercise Oncology Service.
NASA has been sending astronauts to space on various durations. The zero gravity in the space will impact the body organs heavily, especially cardiac-related ailments, which will occur. Depending on the spaceflight they take, the astronauts are advised to exercise. The Mercury astronauts would run each day for a month prior to their space journey, and Gemini astronauts would exercise with bungee cords. The astronauts are taught specific aerobic exercises that would help the heart function properly. Astronauts must deal with stress, noise, isolation, disrupted circadian rhythm, radiation exposure when floating.
Astronauts who are exposed to spaceflight for more than six months tend to develop weakening of bones and muscles, blood volume loss, immune system dysfunction, cardiovascular defunctioning since floating takes less effort to pump blood, and the heart doesn’t have to work more. Since both cancer patients and the astronauts are going through similar ailments, cancer patients should get expert advice to safeguard themselves with fitness exercises pre and post-chemotherapy/radiation treatment.
According to the researchers, now, 90% of the patients are surviving early stages of cancer. Cancer drug toxicity affects other organs, and the oncologists’ purview is to cure cancer, but for the side effects, it imposed on other organs. Hence the countermeasure programs like given to astronauts should be given to cancer patients as well. Most of the patients who become cancer-free die of side effects. Even treadmilling will help cancer patients to be out of cardiac-related issues.
The countermeasures should be viable and cost-effective, and if it works, it will change the dimension of cancer care and management. A lot more research should be done in this regard to get to know more about the feasibilities. In India, even in parliament, it was discussed to give cost-effective treatment, and the measures are being taken to realize it across the nation.
Cancer Patients Can Benefit From Astronaut Exercise Programs