Exercise for cancer


According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s ‘Cancer in Australia 2019’ report, 1 in 2 Australian men and women are being diagnosed with cancer by the age of 85. Every day, 396 people are diagnosed with cancer making cancer, in 2019, a leading cause of death in Australia.

Scientific research, around the benefit of exercise for people with pre- during and post-cancer treatment, has established exercise as a particularly potent medicine for the management of cancer.

Exercise is Medicine Australia underlines exercise (both pre- and post-diagnosis) as having a great link with positive cancer outcomes – function, fitness and quality of life. There is also a growing body of evidence that indicates exercise, after diagnosis, may improve long-term survival rates, at least in breast and colorectal cancer.

Exercise guidelines for fitness professionals for people with cancer

The 2019 ESSA ‘Exercise medicine in cancer management’ position statement encourages fitness professionals to guide their cancer patients through an individualised exercise prescription that is specific to them, their cancer and their needs. The exercise prescription that works best is defined by a variety of aspects including patient assessment, identification and consideration of general and cancer-specific health issues, and patient-driven goals.

The ESSA position statement on exercise in cancer care suggests moderate intensity exercise for people with cancer. Most exercise programs can include a mix of aerobic and resistance type exercises and, each session, should be adjusted based on how the person is feeling on certain days. Everyone is different when it comes to exercise prescription and, depending on the type of cancer and the current cancer treatment cycle, exercise should be customized accordingly.

ESSA free eBook, launched on October 2019, highlights current exercise guidelines for a range of different cancers, and aims to educate Fitness Professionals and those living with cancer as to how physical activity can help them on their journey through treatment and recovery.

To download the eBook, click here.

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