A new article in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute finds that some cancer patients appear to benefit more from exercise than others.
Exercise interventions during primary cancer treatment, especially chemotherapy, typically aim to prevent declines in functioning and to reduce treatment side-effects, while exercise interventions after treatment aim to improve functioning. There is evidence from randomized controlled trials that exercise has beneficial effects on fatigue, physical fitness, quality of life and self-reported physical function during and after cancer treatment. The magnitude of these effects, however, is often small.
This study investigated whether the effects of exercise on fatigue, aerobic fitness, muscle strength, quality of life and physical function in cancer patients varied by the initial value of these health characteristics. This study used data from 34 exercise trials conducted through the Predicting OptimaL cAncer RehabIlitation and Supportive care (POLARIS) study
The researchers found that during treatment, effects on aerobic fitness were larger for patients with better baseline aerobic fitness. After treatment, the effects on upper and lower body muscle strength and quality of life were larger in patients with worse baseline values.
Although the researchers believe that exercise should be encouraged for most patients with cancer, targeting
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