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Being physically active can improve quality of life for cancer patients

Jan 15, 2015 |

WomanWalking_NCI_captioned_w400xh267Being physically active is one of several healthy lifestyle factors that can help prevent about half of all cancers. Research has also shown that physical activity can have positive impacts on cancer survivors.
According to a paper published in the January 2015 issue of Oncology Nursing Forum, physical activity can also help improve the health-related quality of life (HRQOL) of people undergoing cancer treatment.
HRQOL refers to a person’s overall functioning and well-being. It is subjective and multidimensional, and includes psychological, social, physical, spiritual, and occupational functioning, as well as somatic experiences, such as symptoms.

Dr. Carolyn Gotay, a Professor in the UBC School of Population and Public Health, Canadian Cancer Society Chair in Cancer Primary Prevention, and Director of the Cancer Prevention Centre, was a part of the research team.

In the study, the researchers analyzed 56 separate clinical trials, which included a total of 4826 participants, to assess the effectiveness of exercise interventions for improving HRQOL from the time of diagnosis through active cancer treatment, often a time when many cancer patients are not physically active. The analysis revealed that at 12 weeks, people exposed to exercise interventions had greater improvement in overall HRQOL and physical functioning. Moderate-to-vigorous intensity exercise interventions were most likely to improve HRQOL.

This suggests that exercise can be a useful tool for managing HRQOL for people scheduled to, or actively undergoing, cancer treatment. This paper complements the authors’ review on the effects of exercise interventions on HRQOL among people who had completed cancer treatment, which was published in 2012.

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