Translating Evidence into Practice: Incorporating Exercise into Standard Cancer Care (#11)
Evidence supporting the benefits of exercise following the diagnosis of cancer (in particular common cancers such as prostate, breast and colorectal cancer) is mounting and compelling. Exercise improves fitness, function and quality of life, reduces the severity and number of treatment-related side effects, and may improve overall and disease-free survival. Further, exercise is a form of treatment that is complementary to primary and adjuvant cancer treatment, is associated with rare and minor adverse events and can positively influence health long after the cancer experience. Despite these benefits, widespread formal incorporation of exercise into standard cancer care is yet to occur. Future research must seek to address the limitations in existing exercise and cancer literature, including evaluating exercise on samples representative of the wider cancer population, development, implementation and evaluation of effectiveness studies, and incorporation of cost-effectiveness analysis into exercise randomized, controlled trials. In the interim, sufficient evidence exists for clinicians and allied health professionals to encourage patients to follow broad physical activity guidelines during and following treatment for cancer and to advocate for the integration of more formal exercise prescription into their care plan.