Australia’s leading experts on cancer have agreed that all cancer patients should include exercise in their daily routine. Moreover, they say that not doing exercise is harmful.
The Clinical Oncology Society of Australia and 25 renowned health and cancer organizations argue that an essential part of treatment is physical activity, be in alongside surgery, chemotherapy/radiation.
Professor Prue Cormie from the Australian Catholic University stated that they have worked with “indisputable” evidence:
“We are at the stage where the science is telling us that withholding exercise from cancer patients can be harmful. Exercise is the best medicine someone with cancer can take in addition to their standard cancer treatments.”
A Pill Called Exercise
Cormie continues explaining that the severe side effects of the treatment can be reduced (fatigue, mental distress). Regular exercise improves the overall quality of life. She also said that the risk of cancer coming back or dying from it is lower if a person has an active lifestyle:
“If the effects of exercise could be encapsulated in a pill, it would be prescribed to every cancer patient worldwide and viewed as a major breakthrough in cancer treatment. If we had a pill called exercise it would be demanded by cancer patients, prescribed by every cancer specialist, and subsidised by government.”
Dr. David Speakman is the chief medical officer at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. He says that cancer patients should not be wrapped in “cotton wool.” Instead, they have to “benefit from an exercise prescription.”
Nicole Cooper can confirm the benefits of exercise, as a cancer patient. She had stage 4 bowel cancer, and took two treatments – chemotherapy and exercise:
“A year later, I am in remission, having taken just as much exercise as I have chemotherapy.”
Cormie recommends 150 minutes of aerobic exercise per week and two-three sessions of resistance training – like weightlifting. She also explains that a physically active life can be possible, with one condition:
“These recommendations should be tailored to the individual’s abilities to minimize the risk of complications and maximize the benefits.”
Andre Blair s is the lead editor for Advocator.ca. He holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.P.H.) from the School of Public Health, Department of Health Administration, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Andre specializes in environmental health, but writes on a variety of issues.