The evidence of the benefits of exercise for those diagnosed with breast, colorectal, prostate and hematologic cancers is compelling and there is encouraging evidence emerging for the effect of exercise in other cancer diagnoses (e.g. lung and gynaecological).
Recent research has found that exercise is beneficial not only post-treatment to recover physical function, but also during treatment as it helps to prevent the decline of physical function without increasing fatigue. Those patients that exercise both during and post-treatment give themselves the best chance to reduce the risk of cancer recurrence. There is also research that patients with advanced cancer can benefit from regular exercise with reports of maintained independence and well-being. 4,5,6
During treatment, patients typically lose aerobic and muscular fitness, experience high levels of fatigue and often report diminished psychological well-being over the course of the treatment.
Studies have demonstrated that exercise 5-9:
In addition to the physical and mental health benefits, those patients that exercise both during and post-treatment give themselves the best chance to reduce the risk of cancer recurrence and also reduce their risk of developing other chronic health conditions.
1. McGowan, 2011. Exercise interventions in supportive oncology.
2. Schmitz, 2010. American College of Sports Medicine roundtable on exercise guidelines for cancer survivors.
3. Rajotte, 2012. Community-based exercise program effectiveness and safety for cancer survivors.
4. Buffart, 2014. Evidence-based physical activity guidelines for cancer survivors: current guidelines, knowledge gaps and future research directions.
5. Galvão, 2005. Review of exercise intervention studies in cancer patients.
6. Mishra, 2012. Exercise interventions on health‐related quality of life for cancer survivors.
7. Newton, 2008. Exercise in prevention and management of cancer.
8. Chan, 2010. Effectiveness of exercise programmes on shoulder mobility and lymphoedema after axillary lymph node dissection for breast cancer: systematic review.
9. McNeely, 2010. Exercise interventions for upper‐limb dysfunction due to breast cancer treatment.
10. Holmes, 2005. Physical activity and survival after breast cancer diagnosis.
11. Meyerhardt, 2006. Physical activity and survival after colorectal cancer diagnosis.
12. Kenfield, 2011. Physical activity and survival after prostate cancer diagnosis in the health professional’s follow-up study.