Study: A good sweat is good cancer therapy

    A University of Pennsylvania researcher says exercise should play a bigger role in cancer treatment, and she’s urging oncologists to update their advice to patients.

    A University of Pennsylvania researcher says exercise should play a bigger role in cancer treatment, and she’s urging oncologists to update their advice to patients.
    (Photo: flickr/Sam Judson)

    For people who’ve had a heart attack or stroke, keeping fit is often part of the road to recovery. Many patients get an exercise prescription along with their initial surgery and treatment.

    That’s not done as often in cases of cancer.

    But an expert panel convened by the American College of Sports Medicine reviewed the evidence on exercise for cancer patients and found overwhelming benefits.

    Kathryn Schmitz, with Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center, led the review.

    Schmitz: “We should be getting to a point, where at the end of treatment, during treatement, cancer survivors should receive a script and be sent to a widely available program for exercise during and after cancer treatment.”

    While some cancer treatments can be hard on the body, Schmitz says physical activity is a boon for the immune, endocrine and metobolic systems.

    She also wants health providers to teach patients about the risks of Inactivity.

    Schmitz presents the panel’s new guidelines to a large group of oncologists next week.

    Richard Bleicher a breast cancer surgeon with the Fox Chase Cancer Center.

    He hasn’t seen the new exercise guidelines, but doesn’t expect much push back from oncologists.

    Bleicher:  “Clearly there are going to be some limitations related to what patients are able to do after a particular types of treatment, but I can tell you from my experience that my colleagues have advocated for increasing for physical activity as the patient goes through their treatment, and once the patient has completed their treatment.”

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