Physical Activity Reduces Cancer Treatment Side Effects

ImageIf you had asked me, during much of the 20th century, whether exercise was an important component of cancer treatment, I would have answered no. In fact, we physicians thought that exertion should be avoided during cancer treatment. Then, a randomized trial for patients with Stage II breast cancer began to change our views. This study showed that 10 weeks of aerobic exercise decreased chemotherapy-induced nausea, while improving functional capacity and body composition.

Subsequent studies have shown benefits of exercise for patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy for several types of cancer. This improvement can occur even with elderly patients, with improvements in memory, self-reported health measures, fatigue, and shortness of breath.

Exercise has also been shown to help with sexual dysfunction among some men undergoing androgen deprivation therapy for advanced prostate cancer.

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Winningham ML, et al. Oncol Nurs Forum 1988;15:447-50.

Sprod LK, et al. J Geriatr Oncol 2013;3:90-97.

The small print: The material presented herein is informational only, and is not designed to provide specific guidance for an individual. Please check with a valued health care provider with any questions or concerns. As for me, I am a Harvard- , Yale- and UPenn-educated radiation oncologist, and I practice in the Seattle, WA (USA) area. I feel genuinely privileged to be able to share with you. If you enjoyed today’s offering, please consider clicking the follow button at the bottom of this page.

Available now: Understand Colon Cancer in 60 Minutes; Understand Brain Glioma in 60 Minutes. Both can be found at the Apple Ibooks store. Coming Soon for iPad:  Understand Breast Cancer in 60 Minutes; Understand Colon Cancer in 60 Minuteable now: Understand Colon Cancer in 60 Minutes; Understand Brain Glioma in 60 Minutes. Thank you.

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Harvard AB Yale MD UPenn Radiation Oncology Radiation Oncologist, Seattle area

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