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CLL Support Association
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Muscle mass...

Hi all,

I found this article on the correlation between muscle mass and prognosis in people with cancer.


It doesn't mention CLL specifically though Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma does get a mention. The take home message is that low muscle mass worsens your prognosis.

If you need inspiration, go to the YouTube channel for a remarkable young lady called Emily Hayward. She was a personal trainer who survived 8 years with meta-static melanoma that had spread into her brain. It mentions in one or two of her videos that the doctors were amazed at her resilience. Her positive upbeat attitude throughout her ordeal is also worthy of admiration. Few people with brain tumors dead lift 130 kg!!! Her videos are here:


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Interesting research paper on the idea of more muscle mass being a good prognostic indicator.

Looked at simplistically this says to me more muscle mass equals less fat, equals MORE EXERCISE.

Doesn’t this research then back up the idea that more exercise is beneficial.??



AND, doesn't that study speak to the need for cancer treatment dosage being more specific to the individual, esp. the elderly where muscle mass is declining at a higher rate?


Yes I would agree, Dr Terry Hamblin wrote about this, and we also see research work into the reduction of the dosage of expensive drugs like Ibrutinib for similar reasons.

Much drug approval research is based upon an 'average man' size, weight and probably muscle mass, which has little relevance to what could be a smaller woman with likely less muscle mass.


People starting from a low base will see significant improvements in both muscle mass and cardio from any form of regular exercise. That said, the benefits of going for a 30 minute walk each day will begin to taper off as the body adjusts to the exercise routine. The article was vague on just how much muscle mass is required to optimize a prognosis. A 30 minute walk each day may be sufficient (I don't know). In order to continue getting stronger, an exercise routine needs to be varied so the body never gets a chance to adapt to any one routine. This is where gym classes come into their own. No two classes are ever the same and numerous muscle groups get exercised.

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Muscle mass probably correlates with general fitness levels which would have a direct correlation with the ability to tolerate full dose treatment, leading to better outcomes.

With most chemotherapy treatment regimes doses are calculated on a person’s surface in square metres (calculated from height and weight) with the dose normally capped at 2 sq m.


That is a significant problem for us as we age, with or without cancer. I try to lift 3 times per week, high reps with a comfortable weight that I can lift 25 times per set. This also improves balance.

Dennis, 71, Ibrutinib


That is really an interesting article. My dermatologist made the remark there is no fat on my legs, its all muscle. I have walked 2.3 miles most of the days of the week for the last at least 20 years, plus when I was working I was on my feet all day. This last year I haven't, its been very sporadic due to the smoke from the fires, extreme weather conditions, retirement and my husband has been ill.

The reason it caught my eye is because a few doctors have said I was doing really well with my Cll. I guess I should make a point to go back out there and start walking. I walk in park which tells you exactly how far you walked.


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