WELLBEING EXPERTS  /  MOVEMENT & PHYSICAL ACTIVITY / What you need to know

What you need to know

There is now convincing evidence that being active at all stages of the cancer journey (pre-surgery, during cancer treatments, in the survivorship phase, with advanced cancer and during palliative care) can provide significant physical and psychological benefits.

Strong observational evidence shows that higher levels of physical activity are associated with lower risk of cancer recurrence and mortality following breast, colon, and prostate cancer. Furthermore, specific doses of exercise have been shown to effectively address anxiety, depression, physical function deficits, cancer related fatigue, bone health, sleep, lymphoedema and quality of life. In addition, exciting new evidence supports the concept that exercise may directly improve the effectiveness of chemotherapy treatments, which partly may explain the cancer survival benefits.

In summary, the evidence is strong enough to consider exercise/ physical activity rehabilitation programmes, as an integral additional cancer treatment and it should be embedded as a standard part of cancer care, similar to that offered in cardiac rehabilitation.

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“In over 15 years of working within the field of cancer care – I have never seen a supportive strategy that has the speed and latitude of health benefits that increasing physical activity has on both patients and families.”

BY STEPHEN PRICE

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