It is well accepted that exercise has many benefits. But is it really of much use when it comes to dealing with something like cancer? Now you’re all expecting to me to say yes, and that’s only partly true because it’s a strong and definite yes. You could reasonably be wondering what leads me to say this? Well, mostly because it’s true! Allow me to expand.
In my experience prescribing and running specific interventions with cancer patients, exercise has a strong and positive impact across many areas. These include reductions in cancer-related fatigue, enhanced psychological wellbeing and quality of life improvements. And that’s just the start. There is also a strong and well-documented evidence base supporting the benefits of exercise for cancer patients. For example, Stout et al., (2017) published a systematic review of exercise systematic reviews in the cancer literature that were published between 2005 and 2017. These authors clearly showed that exercise interventions have a strong evidence base to support their ubiquitous inclusion in every individual’s cancer care plan.
Stout et al., (2017) study was extremely comprehensive. Their initial search yielded 9, 337 results and after extensive review, data from 51 systematic reviews were included in the final analysis. The authors concluded that exercise promotes significant improvements in clinical, functional, and in some populations, survival outcomes and can be recommended regardless of the type of cancer. Since exercise prescription is nuanced, exercise plans must be tailored specifically to individuals with a cancer diagnosis.