Reduced Physical Activity Common After Cancer Diagnosis

Researchers say physical activity can improve odds of recovery and survival in cancer patients.
Researchers say physical activity can improve odds of recovery and survival in cancer patients.

HealthDay News -- According to a study presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology's Cancer Survivorship Symposium in San Diego, exercise can help cancer patients cope with their treatment, but as many as 75% reduce their physical activity after diagnosis.

The study included 662 cancer patients being treated at 12 Philadelphia clinics. 

Most of the patients (65%) were overweight or obese women. Their average age was 60.

Surveys revealed that 75% of patients said they had reduced their physical activity since being diagnosed with cancer. Sixteen percent said they had kept up the same level of activity as they had before diagnosis, and 4% said they had increased their exercise since diagnosis.

"We have about 25 million cancer survivors in the United States, and there is mounting evidence that suggests that physical activity and exercise improve many outcomes in patients with cancer," lead researcher Jun Mao, MD, chief of integrative medicine service at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, told HealthDay. Doctors need to ask their patients about physical activity and encourage them to be active, he said.

Reference

Three-Quarters of Patients Report Decreased Physical Activity After a Cancer Diagnosis; Contributing Physical and Psychological Factors Identified [press release]. Alexandria, VA: American Society of Clinical Oncology; January 23, 2017.

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