Exercise “is the best medicine” and should be prescribed to all cancer patients to slow the disease’s progression and improve chances of survival, according to the first guidance of its sort anywhere in the world.
Withdrawing from exercise after a diagnosis or while undergoing treatment actively harms cancer patients’ chances of survival, the Clinical Oncology Society of Australia (Cosa) said.
In the first evidence-backed position statement of its kind, more than 20 organisations involved in cancer care and exercise call for physical activity to be built into every treatment plan.
The COSA position statement calls for:
- Exercise to be embedded as part of standard practice in cancer care and to be viewed as an adjunct therapy that helps counteract the adverse effects of cancer and its treatment
- All members of the multidisciplinary cancer team to promote physical activity and recommend people with cancer adhere to exercise guidelines
- Best practice cancer care to include referral to an accredited exercise physiologist and/or physiotherapist with experience in cancer care