The Role of Exercise in Cancer Treatment
Cancer is a term that describes a disease in which abnormal cells multiply in an uncontrolled manner. There are many forms of cancer though the most common types include prostate cancer, bowel cancer (colon and rectal cancers), breast cancer, melanoma of the skin, and lung cancer. Most people would know of someone in their community that has some form of cancer, be it a family member, a friend, work colleague or you personally are affected.
Although there have been advances in cancer treatment over the years, treatment-related side effects are still common and may persist for long-term survivors. Common side effects of treatment include fatigue, pain, impaired immune function, non-optimal changes in body weight and composition, worsened bone health, fluid build-up that causes swelling in various body parts (lymphoedema), and gastrointestinal (bowel) changes. All of these side effects can greatly impact on quality of life and activities of daily living. This can also impact loved ones or carers of those with cancer and further the burden.
Exercise plays a vital role in both the prevention and treatment of cancer. Exercise can assist to improve aerobic capacity, increase strength, improve bone density and body composition as well as have benefits of psychological status. An appropriately qualified health professional such as an Accredited Exercise Physiologist can assist in designing and implementing an exercise program that is appropriate for the stage of cancer treatment that a patient is at (i.e. during and post-treatment).
Recently, the Clinical Oncology Society of Australia received media attention when they released a position statement on exercise in cancer care. The main recommendations that came from this position statement were the following:
“Exercise to be embedded as part of standard practice in cancer care and to be viewed as an adjunct therapy that helps counteract the adverse effects of cancer and its treatment”
“All members of the multidisciplinary cancer team to promote physical activity and recommend people with cancer adhere to exercise guidelines”
“Best practice cancer care to include referral to an accredited exercise physiologist and/or physiotherapist with experience in cancer care”
At Motion Health, we have a team of Accredited Exercise Physiologists that are passionate about giving you quality exercise services and care. If you know someone with cancer that would like to improve their quality of life and physical capacity then contact reception at Motion Health to organise an appointment.