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18 Oct 2019

American journal publishes new exercise guidelines for cancer survivors
BY Tom Walker

The updated recommendations outline specific exercise prescriptions to address common side effects

The updated recommendations outline specific exercise prescriptions to address common side effects

Cancer survivors should undertake a minimum of 90 minutes of aerobic and resistance training each week, according to new guidelines published in the Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise journal.

The new recommendations outline that survivors should perform aerobic and resistance training for approximately 30 minutes per session, three times a week. The recommendations also outline specific exercise prescriptions to address common side effects, such as anxiety and fatigue, associated with cancer diagnoses and treatment.

They replace earlier guidelines, which advised cancer survivors to meet the general public health guidelines – 150 minutes of exercise a week.

The updated recommendations are based on a review and analysis – conducted by an international group of experts led by the University of British Columbia (UBC) – of the growing body of scientific evidence in the field.

Since the first guidelines were put forward in 2010, there have been more than 2,500 published randomized controlled exercise trials in cancer survivors – an increase of 281 per cent.

"Exercise has been regarded as a safe and helpful way for cancer survivors to lessen the impact of cancer treatment on their physical and mental health, but the precise type and amount of exercise to treat the many different health outcomes related to cancer treatment hasn't been clear," said Dr. Kristin Campbell, the report's lead author and associate professor at UBC's department of physical therapy.

"In the absence of this information, cancer survivors were advised to strive toward meeting the general public health guidelines for all Americans -- an amount of physical activity that may be difficult for people to achieve during or following cancer treatment."

The report is one of three papers published as a result of an international roundtable which explored the role of exercise in cancer prevention and control.

The roundtable brought together a group of 40 international, multidisciplinary experts from various organisations who conducted a review of the evidence on the positive effects of exercise in preventing, managing and recovering from cancer.

Together, the three papers offer new evidence-backed recommendations for incorporating exercise into prevention and treatment plans and introduce a new Moving Through Cancer initiative, led by the American College of Sports Medicine, to help clinicians worldwide implement these recommendations.

To read the full papers, click here for the Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise journal.



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