Exercise and Metastatic Breast Cancer: Tips from a Survivor

2

By Sandy Cassanelli

Finding out I had breast cancer in 2013 was very hard; learning two years later that my cancer was metastatic was even more distressing. But both times, exercise helped me face my situation.

I was in the best shape of my life when I was diagnosed at age 36. I was running, cross-training, and working with a personal trainer. Throughout my experience as a cancer patient – which included surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy – I kept exercising.

Photos provided by Sandy Cassanelli Sandy Cassanelli uses exercise to cope with breast cancer.

Photos provided by Sandy Cassanelli
Sandy Cassanelli uses exercise to cope with breast cancer.

Two years later, my cancer returned in my liver. I transferred my care from a hospital in Connecticut to Dr. Eric Winer at Dana-Farber’s Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers. The travel is worth it because I am in the best of hands. Dr. Winer said my cancer was treatable and that I could live a long time. I take two oral drugs – palbociclib‎ and letrozole – and now, at age 41, I feel great.

As a metastatic breast cancer patient, it is important to me to inspire other women in my shoes and convey the message that they, too, can live well with this disease. If you have metastatic breast cancer, here are some tips that might help you.

You can live a full life. When I heard my cancer was metastatic I thought I was going to die. My daughters would have no mom. “This is it,” I thought. “I am in big trouble.” But it turns out that, with the right care, many women can live well with this disease.

Exercise has physical benefits. I didn’t get many side effects from chemo, and I like to think it was because I didn’t sit around. I was keeping my muscles and bones active by exercising.

Exercise has mental and emotional benefits, as well. Running makes me feel as if I’m not sick. It clears my mind and makes me worry less about the cancer. I run, go for walks, and do cross-fit and yoga.

A little exercise can help. Even if you are not a fitness enthusiast, you can still benefit from exercise. Take a walk. Go for a bike ride. Appreciate the fresh air and nature all around you. Each day is a gift.

Sandy Cassanelli is CEO of Greeno Supply and has two daughters, 14 and 10. She is an advocate for breast cancer research and co-leads the Breast Friends Fund that raises money for Dana-Farber.

Comments Sort By Newest

2 thoughts on “Exercise and Metastatic Breast Cancer: Tips from a Survivor

Comments are closed.

Make An Appointment

For adults: 877-960-1562

Quick access: Appointments as soon as the next day for new adult patients

For children: 888-733-4662

All content in these blogs is provided by independent writers and does not represent the opinions or advice of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute or its partners.

Latest Tweets

Dana-Farber @danafarber
Dr. Matthew Davids explores combining ibrutinib with FCR (iFCR) for younger patients with previously-untreated chro… https://t.co/wzVpo47tSa
Dana-Farber @danafarber
“We’re changing the way people are cared for, through #precisionmedicine, precision care, and a total team approach… https://t.co/RnZXsH2rW8
Dana-Farber @danafarber
Cell-weighing method could help doctors choose #cancer drugs: https://t.co/YesjtyxIvR via @MIT https://t.co/0F7wsZSuLJ

Republish our posts on your blog

Interested in sharing one of our stories on your blog? Feel free to republish this content! We just ask that you credit Dana-Farber, link to the original article, and refrain from making edits that change the original context. Questions? Email the editors at insight_blog@dfci.harvard.edu.