Experts Recommend that Cancer Patients and Survivors Continue to Stay Physically Active

Posted on July 7th, 2010 by

An expert panel provides cancer patients and survivors with exercise guidelines in order to improve quality of life. These guidelines were recently published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.[1]

Exercise and its relationship to patient quality of life, cancer prevention, and impact on treatment and recurrence have been studied extensively in several types of cancer. Regular physical activity may reduce the high levels of emotional distress that can accompany a diagnosis of cancer, improve body mass index, help to maintain red blood cell levels during radiation therapy, and improve quality of life and overall health.

Experts in the field of cancer, fitness, and obesity participated in a panel in an effort to provide cancer survivors with more concrete guidelines to improve their quality of life and overall health, with the ultimate hope of a reduced recurrence risk. The guidelines follow the United States Department of Health and Human Services 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans with adaptations for cancer patients and survivors based on cancer type and common long- and short-term side effects of treatment. The guidelines also provide specific recommendations and contraindications for patients with breast, prostate, colon, gynecologic, and hematologic cancers.

The roundtable concluded that “exercise training is safe during and after cancer treatments and results in improvements in physical functioning, quality of life, and cancer-related fatigue in several cancer survivor groups.”


[1] Schmitz KH, Courneya KS, Matthews C, et al. American College of Sports Medicine Roundtable on Exercise Guidelines for Cancer Survivors. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 2010;42:1409–26.


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