Public Release: 2-Mar-2017
Research shows exercise is a boon for cancer patients
University of Rochester Medical Center
Exercise and/or psychological therapy work better than medications to reduce cancer-related fatigue and should be recommended first to patients, according to a Wilmot Cancer Institute-led study published in JAMA Oncology.
"If a cancer patient is having trouble with fatigue, rather than looking for extra cups of coffee, a nap, or a pharmaceutical solution, consider a 15-minute walk," said lead author Karen Mustian, Ph.D., M.P.H., associate professor in the University of Rochester Medical Center Department of Surgery's Cancer Control Program. "It's a really simple concept but it's very hard for patients and the medical community to wrap their heads around it because these interventions have not been front-and-center in the past," she added. "Our research gives clinicians a valuable asset to alleviate cancer-related fatigue."
Scientists reached their conclusions about exercise and psychological interventions after analyzing the outcomes of 113 unique studies that tested various treatments for cancer-related fatigue. All were randomized clinical trials, the gold standard for evaluating effective treatments. The analysis started with 17,033 abstracts and was whittled down to 113 that met strict criteria of rigorous scientific methods.
More than 11,000 patients were involved in the 113 studies. Nearly half were women with breast cancer; ten studies focused on other types of cancer and enrolled only men.