Leading cancer experts in Australia are calling for exercise to be prescribed to all cancer patients as part of routine treatment.
Position Statement On Exercise In Cancer Care
The Clinical Oncology Society of Australia has launched a position statement saying that healthcare providers need to prescribe particular exercise regimes to patients and refer them to exercise specialists who have experience in cancer care.
COSA’s position statement on exercise in cancer care has been endorsed by a group of 25 health and cancer organizations, which include the Cancer Council Australia and the Peter MacCallum Cancer Center.
Exercise Is Beneficial To Cancer Patients
It cited evidence showing that those who exercise regularly tend to experience fewer and even less severe side effects from treatments, mental distress, cancer-related fatigue, and quality of life. Cancer patients who exercise also have a lower risk of cancer recurrence or dying from the disease.
“Clinical research has established exercise as a safe and effective intervention to counteract many of the adverse physical and psychological effects of cancer and its treatment,” Prue Cormie, from the Australian Catholic University, and colleagues wrote in a position statement summary published in the Medical Journal of Australia on May 7.
“To date, the strongest evidence exists for improving physical function (including aerobic fitness, muscular strength and functional ability), attenuating cancer-related fatigue, alleviating psychological distress and improving quality of life across multiple general health and cancer-specific “
Cormie said that withholding exercise from patients can cause harmful consequences. She also said that implementing exercise medicine alongside routine cancer care can also help save money citing that cancer patients who exercise have the lower medical expense and spend less time away from their work.
“Every person with cancer would benefit from exercise medicine,” she said. “When appropriately prescribed and monitored, exercise is safe for people with cancer and the risk of complications is relatively low.”
The guidelines recommend that cancer patients be as physically active as their current conditions and ability allow, but for significant benefits, they should go for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise such as jogging, swimming, and walking per week.
They should also aim for at least two to three resistance exercise sessions per week, which involve moderate to vigorous intensity exercises that target the major muscle groups. The recommendations nonetheless need to be tailored for each patient to minimize the risk of complications and maximize the benefits of exercise.