Support for Exercise Programs During, After Cancer Treatment

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Physical activity during cancer treatment has been shown to decrease disease- and treatment-related fatigue.
Physical activity during cancer treatment has been shown to decrease disease- and treatment-related fatigue.

I've heard that physical activity should now be incorporated into cancer care. Why? — Name withheld on request 

Multiple organizations, including the American Cancer Society, the American College of Sports Medicine, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, the US Department of Health and Human Services, and the Oncology Nursing Society, recommend physical activity for cancer survivors in active treatment and during the survivorship phase of cancer care. 

Research evidence supports that physical activity during cancer treatment significantly decreases disease- and treatment-related fatigue. Along with fatigue, this intervention may improve quality of life byhelping to manage anxiety and depression, improving sleep quality,managing lymphedema, maintaining bone and muscle strength, and decreasing recurrence of disease. 

When your patient asks about a special diet, vitamin, or herb that they should take to help get them through treatment, consider teaching them about the importance of avoiding inactivity. 

Additional resources: LIVESTRONG at the YMCA, a partnership between the advocacy group and YMCA of the USA that created a 12-week, small group program designed for adult cancer survivors. Public information articles available from the http://www.acsm.org/public-information/articles/2016/10/07/exercise-during-cancer-treatment. — Leah Scaramuzzo, MSN, RN-BC, AOCN

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