Exercise Can Reduce Side Effects of
estimated 1.3 million new cases of cancer were diagnosed last year,
according to the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and
Health Promotion. Most of those cases required treatment that produced
side effects such as weight gain or loss, fatigue, nausea and vomiting.
University of Missouri-Columbia researchers have found that exercise
can benefit some cancer patients who undergo treatment, combating the
chronic disease by helping them cope with the side effects.
Conn, associate dean of research and professor of nursing, and a team
of researchers from MU's Sinclair School of Nursing examined the
effects of exercise on cancer-treatment patients. They found that
exercise reduced side effects associated with cancer treatment such as
chemotherapy and radiation. Specifically, the research showed that
exercise does benefit the physical functions of patients currently or
recently being treated for cancer.
in physical function, such as the ability to climb a flight of stairs
or walk a certain distance, is an important outcome because it greatly
impacts patients with jobs and children," Conn said. "Exercise can
reduce recovery time and help patients feel better as they deal with
the side effects ofcancer treatment."
research also demonstrated that exercise benefits patient body
composition, or percentage of body fat, and eases symptoms other than
fatigue, such as pain, nausea and vomiting. In addition, the scientists
detected modest improvements in quality of life, mood and level of
fatigue after exercise.
patients should speak with their doctors before implementing any
exercise regimen with cancer treatment," Conn said. "Many patients over
the age of 50 have other chronic illnesses, such as high blood pressure
or diabetes, which must be taken into consideration."
study was published in the July issue of Supportive Care in
Cancer. Conn's research is one component of the Sinclair
School of Nursing research on chronic illness, an effort funded by a
National Institutes of Health $800,000 grant. Conn recommends that
future studies on exercise intervention and cancer treatment use a
standardized exercise program to produce comparable results.
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