CARD, Article

Influence Of Exercise On Cancer

Influence Of Exercise On Cancer
Benefits of Physical Activity for Young Cancer Patients and Survivors 

Improved quality of life 
The benefits of physical activity have been extensively analysed in the context of multiple diseases and conditions in humans. Research into the effect of exercise on cancer has provided conclusive findings. Exercise attenuates the loss of muscle mass and strength as well as the decrease in cardiorespiratory capacity normally observed in cancer patients, thereby improving their quality of life (1). Furthermore, increasing evidence suggests that physical exercise may also be a complementary tool (alongside conventional treatments) to fight against cancer development and cancer mortality. Thus, a meta-analysis including 71 studies showed that cancer patients who remain physically active after their diagnosis are 22% (reaching up to 35% in the case of the most active) less likely to die from cancer than those who remain inactive (2).

The more the merrier 
According to this work published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, there appears to be a potential 'dose-response' between the effects of physical activity and cancer mortality, i.e., more exercise more benefits (2). In addition, the study concluded that physical activity after a cancer diagnosis exerts a greater protective effect against mortality than physical activity pre-diagnosis. Not just this, a large body of evidence supports the benefits of exercise in the control and reduction of the main adverse effects of the disease, such as cancer-related fatigue, lymphoedema, cardiotoxicity, sarcopenia, osteoporosis, and others (3–10). 
Despite treatment advances and improvements in survival rates, cancer survivors frequently experience adverse events related to the disease and its treatment, of which many can persist after treatment has ended. In this context, cancer survivors need to stay active to cope with the late effects of cancer and its treatments.

Given its proven benefits, physical exercise could be considered the main non-pharmacological treatment to fight cancer and its deleterious effects. Despite growing evidence on the benefits of exercise during and after cancer, it is well known that “prevention is better than cure”, so ideally, we should exercise throughout our life and not only when compelled by illness.  
Stay tuned! The OACCUs App – to be released on December 16, 2022 – will provide tailored exercise plans for cancer patients & survivors. 

Authors: Javier S. Morales, UCA

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Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or European Health and Digital Executive Agency (HADEA). Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.