20°C / 22°C
  • Thu
  • 30°C
  • 15°C
  • Fri
  • 29°C
  • 12°C
  • Sat
  • 29°C
  • 12°C
  • Sun
  • 28°C
  • 13°C
  • Mon
  • 26°C
  • 12°C
  • Tue
  • 22°C
  • 10°C
  • Thu
  • 31°C
  • 14°C
  • Fri
  • 19°C
  • 13°C
  • Sat
  • 17°C
  • 13°C
  • Sun
  • 18°C
  • 13°C
  • Mon
  • 19°C
  • 12°C
  • Tue
  • 22°C
  • 13°C
  • Thu
  • 32°C
  • 16°C
  • Fri
  • 31°C
  • 14°C
  • Sat
  • 31°C
  • 14°C
  • Sun
  • 30°C
  • 15°C
  • Mon
  • 27°C
  • 14°C
  • Tue
  • 24°C
  • 12°C
  • Thu
  • 32°C
  • 15°C
  • Fri
  • 31°C
  • 15°C
  • Sat
  • 31°C
  • 15°C
  • Sun
  • 31°C
  • 16°C
  • Mon
  • 28°C
  • 14°C
  • Tue
  • 23°C
  • 12°C
  • Thu
  • 22°C
  • 19°C
  • Fri
  • 27°C
  • 19°C
  • Sat
  • 24°C
  • 19°C
  • Sun
  • 21°C
  • 17°C
  • Mon
  • 20°C
  • 17°C
  • Tue
  • 21°C
  • 16°C
  • Thu
  • 21°C
  • 15°C
  • Fri
  • 22°C
  • 16°C
  • Sat
  • 20°C
  • 15°C
  • Sun
  • 18°C
  • 14°C
  • Mon
  • 18°C
  • 14°C
  • Tue
  • 19°C
  • 14°C
  • Thu
  • 33°C
  • 14°C
  • Fri
  • 21°C
  • 12°C
  • Sat
  • 16°C
  • 9°C
  • Sun
  • 20°C
  • 8°C
  • Mon
  • 24°C
  • 8°C
  • Tue
  • 23°C
  • 9°C
  • Thu
  • 31°C
  • 15°C
  • Fri
  • 19°C
  • 13°C
  • Sat
  • 15°C
  • 12°C
  • Sun
  • 17°C
  • 12°C
  • Mon
  • 21°C
  • 11°C
  • Tue
  • 21°C
  • 12°C
  • Thu
  • 33°C
  • 17°C
  • Fri
  • 32°C
  • 15°C
  • Sat
  • 32°C
  • 14°C
  • Sun
  • 31°C
  • 14°C
  • Mon
  • 29°C
  • 17°C
  • Tue
  • 24°C
  • 14°C
  • Thu
  • 32°C
  • 13°C
  • Fri
  • 31°C
  • 18°C
  • Sat
  • 31°C
  • 15°C
  • Sun
  • 29°C
  • 16°C
  • Mon
  • 24°C
  • 13°C
  • Tue
  • 19°C
  • 10°C
  • Thu
  • 27°C
  • 13°C
  • Fri
  • 30°C
  • 14°C
  • Sat
  • 32°C
  • 12°C
  • Sun
  • 32°C
  • 12°C
  • Mon
  • 24°C
  • 14°C
  • Tue
  • 21°C
  • 14°C
  • Thu
  • 27°C
  • 14°C
  • Fri
  • 22°C
  • 14°C
  • Sat
  • 19°C
  • 12°C
  • Sun
  • 16°C
  • 11°C
  • Mon
  • 17°C
  • 10°C
  • Tue
  • 18°C
  • 12°C

Why every cancer patient should be prescribed exercise

Most doctors and nurses agree exercise is beneficial but don’t routinely prescribe exercise as part of their patients’ cancer treatment plan.

Picture: pixabay.com

Every four minutes someone in Australia is diagnosed with cancer. Only one in ten of those diagnosed will exercise enough during and after their treatment. But every one of those patients would benefit from exercise.

I’m part of Australia’s peak body representing health professionals who treat people with cancer, the Clinical Oncology Society of Australia. Today we’re joining 25 other cancer organisations to call for exercise to be prescribed to all cancer patients as part of routine cancer care.

Published today in the Medical Journal of Australia, our plan is to incorporate exercise alongside surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy to help counteract the negative effects of cancer and its treatment.

WHAT ARE WE CALLING FOR?

Historically the advice to cancer patients was to rest and avoid activity. We now know this advice may be harmful to patients, and every person with cancer would benefit from exercise medicine.

Most doctors and nurses agree exercise is beneficial but don’t routinely prescribe exercise as part of their patients’ cancer treatment plan.

It is our position that all health professionals involved in the care of people with cancer should:

  1. view and discuss exercise as a standard part of the cancer treatment plan

  2. recommend people with cancer adhere to exercise guidelines

  3. refer patients to an exercise physiologist or physiotherapist with experience in cancer care.

WHY PRESCRIBE EXERCISE

Cancer patients who exercise regularly experience fewer and less severe side effects from treatments. They also have a lower relative risk of cancer recurrence and a lower relative risk of dying from their cancer.

If the effects of exercise could be encapsulated in a pill, it would be prescribed to every cancer patient worldwide and viewed as a major breakthrough in cancer treatment. If we had a pill called exercise it would be demanded by cancer patients, prescribed by every cancer specialist, and subsidised by government.

Cancer and its treatment can have a devastating effect on people’s lives, causing serious health issues that compromise their physical and mental well-being.

Research shows exercise can help cancer patients tolerate aggressive treatments, minimise the physical declines caused by cancer, counteract cancer-related fatigue, relieve mental distress and improve quality of life.

When appropriately prescribed and monitored, exercise is safe for people with cancer and the risk of complications is relatively low.

Implementing exercise medicine as part of routine cancer care not only has the potential to change people’s lives but to also save money. People with cancer who exercise have lower medical expenses and spend less time away from work.

WHAT EXACTLY SHOULD BE PRESCRIBED?

Exercise specialists can prescribe exercise in a similar way that doctors prescribe medications; by knowing how cancer impacts our health, and understanding how certain exercises improve the structure and function of the body’s systems.

These individualised programmes involve specific types of exercises, performed at precise intensities and volumes based on a mechanism of action and dosage needed to counteract the negative effects of cancer.

The evidence-based guidelines recommend people with cancer be as physically active as their current ability and conditions allow. For significant health benefits, they should aim for:

  1. at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise weekly (such as walking, jogging, cycling, swimming)

  2. two to three resistance exercise session each week involving moderate to vigorous intensity exercises targeting the major muscle groups (such as weight lifting).

These recommendations should be tailored to the individual’s abilities to minimise the risk of complications and maximise the benefits.

Getting this much exercise may seem out of reach for many people with cancer. But exercise specialists who have experience in cancer care can help. They’ll design an individual programmes based on the patient’s disease, how they’ve responded to treatment and the anticipated trajectory of their health status.

Online directories can help find accredited exercise physiologists and physiotherapists practising nearby. These services are eligible for subsidies through Medicare and private health insurance.

Or patients can opt for structured cancer-specific exercise medicine programmes such as EX-MED Cancer, which I lead. Such programmes are designed to maximise the safety and effectiveness of exercise medicine for cancer patients.

Written by Prue Cormie, principal research fellow in Exercise & Cancer, Australian Catholic University

This article was republished courtesy of the World Economic Forum.

Comments

EWN welcomes all comments that are constructive, contribute to discussions in a meaningful manner and take stories forward.

However, we will NOT condone the following:

- Racism (including offensive comments based on ethnicity and nationality)
- Sexism
- Homophobia
- Religious intolerance
- Cyber bullying
- Hate speech
- Derogatory language
- Comments inciting violence.

We ask that your comments remain relevant to the articles they appear on and do not include general banter or conversation as this dilutes the effectiveness of the comments section.

We strive to make the EWN community a safe and welcoming space for all.

EWN reserves the right to: 1) remove any comments that do not follow the above guidelines; and, 2) ban users who repeatedly infringe the rules.

Should you find any comments upsetting or offensive you can also flag them and we will assess it against our guidelines.

EWN is constantly reviewing its comments policy in order to create an environment conducive to constructive conversations.

comments powered by Disqus