What does exercise promise the cancer survivor, if anything?
The working title of my upcoming book, Exercise Beats Cancer, took some criticism today from a friend whom I esteem. Their concern was that a title like Exercise Beats Cancer seems to over-promise results. To them, that title seems to say that if you exercise you can conquer cancer.
Is that literally true? No. So, why say it? It could confuse people. Someone might go to their doctor and say, “All I need to do is to exercise, and this book says that I can beat cancer. Why do I need surgery and chemo or radiation?”
Well, I admit, I hadn’t thought of it like that. I didn’t really want to imply that exercise was the only tool needed to use against cancer. I’m not planning to claim it can “cure” anyone of cancer or should lead them to disregard their doctors’ advice or skip out on medical treatment. Not at all.
So, maybe the title will change. That’s okay. But before I leave the title behind, let me just explain why it was my “working title” for the last year or more.
- It’s catchy.
- It makes me feel motivated to exercise.
- Exercise is more fun than cancer, as in “going for a walk sure beats going to get chemo.” You know, double entendre, second meaning, subtle humor.
- It made me feel hopeful that exercise can help to beat cancer. That if I exercised, along with all other medical treatment, I might have an advantage against cancer.
- It made me feel powerful against a lousy disease.
But… the last thing that I want to do is to make medical doctors or their patients feel ambivalent about the book. Do I plan to overstate the benefits of exercise? No, I don’t. The truth of it: Exercise has so many legitimate benefits to cancer patients that not I nor anyone else needs to overstate it.
And so… the new working title has changed. Thanks for the feedback!