Exercise May Benefit Some Cancer Patients More Than Others

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Laurien Buffart, PhD  Chair Amsterdam eXercise in Oncology (AXiON) research Departments of Epidemiology & Biostatistics and Medical Oncology VUmc  Amsterdam | The Netherlands

Dr. Buffart

Laurien Buffart, PhD
Chair Amsterdam eXercise in Oncology (AXiON) research
Departments of Epidemiology & Biostatistics and Medical Oncology
VUmc  Amsterdam | The Netherlands

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: There is evidence from randomized controlled trials that exercise has beneficial effects on physical fitness, fatigue, quality of life and self-reported physical function during and following cancer treatment. The magnitude of the effects, however, often appear modest, possibly because interventions rarely target patients with worse symptoms and quality of life.

Based on individual patient data from 34 randomized controlled trials, we found that exercise interventions during cancer treatment are effective in maintaining muscle strength and quality of life, regardless of their baseline values.

Offering exercise interventions post cancer treatment to patients with a relatively high muscle strength and quality of life does not appear to further improve these outcomes. For aerobic fitness, exercise interventions during treatment had larger effects in patients with higher baseline aerobic fitness, whereas all patients were able to improve aerobic fitness post treatment. Greater effects on fatigue and self-reported physical function were found for patients with worse baseline fatigue and physical function, both during and post-treatment. 

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