Many patients with bowel cancer say they were not advised to exercise regularly after diagnosis. Exercise can help ease fatigue, depression, and anxiety; is linked to better survival and better quality of life for patients; and reduces the risk of recurrence.
However, a Cancer Research UK study has shown that many patients are not advised to be more active.
The researchers asked more than 15,000 patients with bowel cancer about their current level of exercise and whether they were advised to be more active.
Only 31% said they were advised to exercise at any point during their treatment, 69% said they were not advised at all.
Current NHS guidelines recommend that healthy people get at least 2.5 hours of moderate physical activity per week.
Although no guidelines specific to patients with bowel cancer are in place, the researchers recommend that patients discuss exercise with their doctor and get advice on what is safe for them and suits their lifestyle and ability.
More than two-thirds of bowel cancer patients say they weren’t advised to exercise regularly after their diagnosis – despite evidence that brisk physical activity is linked to better survival in bowel cancer.