What is exercise medicine?

Recent research has shown that physical activity can influence cancer outcomes and play a role in the cancer treatment journey.1-3 It may be an important part of your overall treatment, regardless of the type of treatment you may have, such as radiation therapy, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, hormone therapy or a combination of any of these.

What are the benefits?

Exercise before surgery

Following a cancer diagnosis, surgery may be part of the treatment process. Sometimes, there may be a delay before surgery is carried out. An appropriate exercise program before surgery, even if it is short, can help to prepare your body for surgery and assist in speeding up recovery.4 If you are reading this before you have surgery, it’s not too soon to ask your doctor about exercise.

Exercise during treatment

Therapies used to treat cancer may have numerous side-effects. While your doctor(s) will aim to optimise your treatment’s effectiveness while minimising side-effects, some treatments can have a significant impact on your body and quality-of-life. Incorporating a personalised exercise program into your overall treatment plan may help to manage some of the side effects of your treatment as well as help to improve your overall well-being.1,5-7 In some cases, exercise can prevent, reduce and even reverse treatment related side-effects.8,9

Exercise after treatment

How much exercise?

Considerable research and clinical evidence have established that exercise may be beneficial for people with cancer; however, there is no one-size-fits-all approach.2,3 Every person’s circumstances are unique and these should be taken into account. Tailored exercise programs designed by an exercise professional that include both aerobic and resistance training activities have been shown to provide benefits.15 We know that becoming more active and/or learning to do new activities may seem difficult during treatment and early recovery. We recognise that some days can be better than others during treatment, and our approach is to encourage you to do what you can in a supportive and understanding environment.

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