Kristin Campbell of @UBCnews explains exercise guidelines for cancer survivors limitations and safety concerns.
There is growing evidence that exercise is a significant part of recovery for the increasing number of cancer survivors worldwide. But how much is required, and what kind of exercise?
A recent research study, undertaken by an international group of experts led by the University of British Columbia, has led to the development of new guidelines for exercise for cancer survivors.
The revised guidelines, published today in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, detail detailed' exercise treatments' to tackle common side effects associated with cancer diagnosis and treatment, such as anxiety and exhaustion.
Generally speaking, the new guidelines prescribe aerobic and strength training for survivors for about 30 minutes per session, three days a week. This is a departure from earlier recommendations, issued almost a decade ago, that urged survivors of cancer to follow the general guidelines for public health for all Americans—150 minutes of exercise a week.
“Exercise has been regarded as a safe and helpful way for cancer survivors to lessen the impact of cancer treatment on their physical and mental health, but the precise type and amount of exercise to treat the many different health outcomes related to cancer treatment hasn’t been clear,” says the paper’s lead author, Dr. Kristin Campbell, associate professor at UBC’s department of physical therapy. “In the absence of this information, cancer survivors were advised to strive toward meeting the general public health guidelines for all Americans — an amount of physical activity that may be difficult for people to achieve during or following cancer treatment.”
The new recommendations are based on a thorough review and examination of the increasing range of scientific evidence in the field. There have been more than 2,500 published randomized controlled exercise trials in cancer survivors since the first guidelines were put forward in 2010, an increase of 281 percent.
The new paper is just one of three papers published today that summarize the findings of an international roundtable investigating the role of exercise in the prevention and control of cancer. The roundtable put together a team of 40 global, multidisciplinary experts from different organizations who carried out a detailed and updated analysis of research on the beneficial effects of exercise in cancer prevention, treatment and recovery.