[Is physical activity important in treatment and rehabilitation of cancer patients?].Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen. 2000 Nov 10; 120(27):3302-4.TN
In the past, patients suffering from cancer and other chronic diseases were told to avoid physical activity in order to rest and reduce discomfort. Recently, many studies have published new scientific evidence which indicates that physical activity may be an important factor in the rehabilitation for several chronic diseases. However, less is known about the importance of physical activity in the treatment and rehabilitation of cancer patients.
MATERIAL AND METHODS
We performed a search on Medline and Pubmed. A total of 38 studies focusing on the importance of physical activity in the treatment and rehabilitation of cancer patients are included in the present study.
The performed studies that have assessed the effects of physical activity on quality of life following cancer diagnosis, consistently suggest that physical activity may improve quality of life for cancer patients and influence fatigue. No information exists on whether physical activity increases survival. The limitations of these clinical studies include small sample size, lack of adjustment for possible confounders, and short intervention spans.
Physical activity is not part of the usual cancer rehabilitation program, yet clinical studies are promising and important. More studies are needed to improve our understanding of the effects and feasibility of physical activity for different groups of cancer patients. Furthermore, the importance of physical activity in relation to surgery, current conventional chemotherapy and radiation for these patients needs to be studied if we are to reduce the knowledge gap regarding the potential role of exercise in rehabilitation programmes for cancer patients compared with patients with other chronic diseases.