Is Exercise Safe During Cancer Treatment?

by Michelle White - Physiotherapist at Lime Physical Therapy | Jul 14, 2015

Is exercise safe during cancer treatment

“Given the number of cancer types and the wide variance in treatments for each type, it may not be reasonable to expect that ‘overall’ evidence-based guidelines for cancer patients can be developed”. Ref: Humpel, N. and D.C. Iverson, Review and critique of the quality of exercise recommendations for cancer patients and survivors. Support Care Cancer 2005. 13(7): p. 493-502.

The recent 2010 Guidelines from the American College of Sports Medicine roundtable on Exercise for Cancer Survivors indicate that Cancer Survivors indicate that, when individuals with cancer are unable to meet the stated recommendation on the basis of their health status, they should be as physically active as their abilities and conditions allow. An explicit recommendation was made to “avoid inactivity”, and it was clearly stated that “some physical activity is better than none”.

Physiotherapists who are certified in Cancer Rehabilitation are able to understand the side effects of the cancer treatment and then modify the exercise programme so that they are providing the best value and getting the best effect for the individual. A key point is to listen to your body and focus on just getting moving. There is some good evidence coming through now about the benefits of exercise, such as reductions in side effects and symptoms during treatment, improvement in survival rates and reduction in risk of developing cancer.

Often the hardest part is getting there and starting, but many report that they feel significantly better afterwards. Find what exercise best works for your body and work at your own pace. If you are concerned or have any questions, always speak to a qualified health professional.

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