Exercise improves quality of life in cancer patients

Christer Sundqvist

Recently a study was published, which indicated that exercise had beneficial effects on the quality of life of patients with lung cancer. The effectiveness seemed to be affected by the duration of the exercise intervention, as well as exercise frequency, intensity, and adherence.


The study performed in Jilin Unversity (China) is published in Oncology Nursing Forum in May 1st, but is already available on line: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32301933


This study is in accordance with other studies and should encourage everyone to integrate exercise into the daily life of patients with lung cancer to improve their quality of life.


Evidence for the role of exercise in the prevention and management of cancer is highly significant and rapidly growing. Regular moderate exercise appears to have favorable effects on the quality of life of other cancer patients than those having lung cancer. Beneficial effects of exercise have been found especially in cancers of the bowel, prostate and breast. Exercise prolonged survival for those who have cancer.


World Cancer Research Fund has declared that physical inactivity is clearly a risk factor for cancer. Studies have shown a protective relationship between physical activity and colon cancer mortality and a reduction of bowel cancer risk has been reported.


Large-scale studies show a reduction in the risk of breast cancer in women who exercise regularly, particularly in those less than 45 years of age. Similar findings have been found for lung cancer. This is confirmed in an analysis of the Nurses’ Health Study. In postmenopausal women, brisk walking has been shown to reduce breast cancer risk.


Aerobic exercise seems to give a very good protection against cancer, and the suggested reasons as to why exercise protects against cancer include changes to prostaglandins and other modulators of inflammation, antioxidant effects, maintaining a regular bowel habit and reducing bowel transit time. Exercise is protecting against obesity and metabolic syndrome by contributing to better overall energy balance. Aerobic exercise also is facilitating other healthy lifestyle changes, such as better diet. Exercise has been found to improve mental health and immune function.


Many prostate cancers are very slow growing and not life threatening, but some become aggressive and can advance rapidly. In men older than 65, the risk of getting advanced prostate cancer was one-third as great if they exercised regularly.


Exercise seems to be the method of choice for a cancer patient.


Suggested reading:


https://clinicalgate.com/cancer-2/ Clinical Gate – Your knowledge base system

https://www.wcrf.org/dietandcancer/exposures/physical-activity Physical activity and the risk of cancer

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32301933 Effect of Exercise Interventions on Quality of Life in Patients With Lung Cancer: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials

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