Physical activity and exercise guidelines for people with cancer: Why are they needed, who should use them, and when?
Seminars in Oncology Nursing
School of Medical and Health Sciences / Exercise Medicine Research Institute
National Health and Medical Research Council Centre for Research Excellence in Prostate Cancer Survivorship Cancer Council Queensland
© 2020 Elsevier Inc. Objectives: This report describes why there is a need for cancer-specific physical activity and exercise prescription guidelines, how the recommendations in the guidelines were derived, and how these guidelines can be used and by whom, to reduce cancer-related burden. Data Source: Professional organizations and peer-reviewed papers. Results: Higher physical activity levels post-cancer diagnosis has been consistently associated with improved morbidity and/or survival outcomes for all cancers studied to date. As such, although physical activity recommendations for those post-cancer are largely generic and tend to replicate physical activity guidelines endorsed for healthy adults, the cancer-specific epidemiological evidence-base suggest this to be appropriate. These guidelines should be endorsed and promoted by all members of the cancer care team, across all phases of cancer survivorship. Cancer-specific exercise prescription guidelines are supported by a clinical trial evidence-base and enable targeted exercise prescription for the benefit of the individual patient. Any member of the cancer care team can refer patients at any time to exercise professionals, who will use these exercise guidelines to direct their provision of exercise as medicine. Conclusion: The prevention of physical activity declines and small increases in physical activity levels during and following cancer treatment is appropriate for the majority. Further, physical activity promotion, alongside incorporation of planned, purposeful, targeted and individualized exercise, has significant potential for reducing morbidity and mortality of cancer worldwide. Implications for Nursing Practice: Nurses are well-placed to regularly encourage patients to participate in physical activity, and to refer patients to exercise professionals, during and following their cancer treatment.