Exercise Helps Survivors: New Analysis

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For many cancer patients, treatment can leave both physical and psychological effects on their daily lives. A strong and ever-growing body of research suggests that physical activity may help.

Today’s issue of Cancer Research Update highlights the latest analysis of the evidence looking at the effects of exercise on cancer patients who have completed their treatment. The analysis looked at the 34 randomized controlled studies (RCTs) on the topic, a type of study considered among the gold standard of studies.

Almost two-thirds of the studies focused on breast cancer and the rest looked at different types, including colon and lung. When taken together, the authors found that the patients who participated in exercise programs – lasting a median of 13 weeks – had improved physical functions, quality of life, fitness, and body weight.

This study builds on a similar analysis completed last year, which suggested exercise helps survivors in numerous ways.

For survivors, it may help to see the findings from a 2010 report. That was when experts pulled together by the American College of Sports Medicine recommended that cancer patients both in and out of treatment  “avoid inactivity.” Here’s an article on that, where you can find the study.


Author: Mya Nelson

Mya R. Nelson is at American Institute for Cancer Research, where she writes about the research in the field.

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