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19 Jun 2019

University study to investigate 'important role' of exercise in cancer care
BY Tom Walker

The research has been designed to help build a solid evidence base to support the use of exercise in the holistic management of people living with cancer

The research has been designed to help build a solid evidence base to support the use of exercise in the holistic management of people living with cancer

Northumbria University (NU) has set out to uncover in detail the important role that structured exercise programmes can play in living with and beyond cancer.

Led by professor John Saxton, head of the Department of Sport, Exercise & Rehabilitation at NU, the survey will combine a number of research projects – undertaken in collaboration with NHS Foundation Trusts in the North East, Norwich and Sheffield.

One of the studies will be focused on the role exercise plays in reversing adverse body composition changes – such as increased fat mass and reduced lean body mass – for patients recovering from hormone-receptor positive breast cancer.

Another, large-scale multi-centre trial, is investigating how exercise programmes prior to surgery can be used to improve fitness and treatment outcomes in colorectal cancer patients across the UK.

Elsewhere, a study will be used to develop effective exercise programmes designed to alleviate the side-effects of prostate cancer and its treatments.

“Physical activity and structured exercise have an important role to play in alleviating the physiological and psychological impact of cancer and its treatments,” said Prof. Saxton.

“Cancer is now considered a chronic condition because more people are living longer after a cancer diagnosis. This research is about using physical exercise as part of lifestyle interventions to improve the health of people living with and beyond cancer.

“We know that common cancers, such as cancers of the breast, prostate and colon can be linked to excess body weight and if patients put weight on after treatment, this can be linked to poorer outcomes.

“There is a real need to provide sustainable lifestyle support, including regular exercise, healthy eating and maintenance of a healthy body weight.

"This isn’t just about quality of life, as it can also benefit long-term disease outcomes, such as risk of cancer recurrence and the development of cardiometabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular conditions.”

The NU research will be closely aligned with NHS treatment plans and has been designed to help build a solid evidence base to support the use of exercise in the holistic management of people living with and beyond cancer.



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