Is Exercise Medicine for Cancer?

Tempo de Leitura: 2 minutos

Despite the numerous benefits that the practice of physical exercises has in the prevention, treatment and control of cancer, the incentive to carry out it is still limited, since the differences in orientations are great, especially among physicians. Thus, we listed here the main guidelines of how physical exercise can be a remedy in the fight against cancer.

The role of the medical team in encouraging the practice of physical activity

The practice of physical exercises helps not only in reducing the total tumor load, but also in the mortality rate, making it difficult to relapse the disease, prostate, breast and colon cancer. From 12 to 47% of cancer patients only meet the minimum recommendations of physical activity. It is known that the achievement depends on many factors, such as the place where the tumor is. However, data show that 18% of cancer survivors had an interest in exercising, but had not received any kind of guidance from the medical team.

Among the reasons for the low medical recommendation of physical exercises is the uncertainty of the safety and effectiveness of such practice. In view of this, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) has proposed an update to the guidelines for guidance for cancer exercises the Exercise Is Medicine (EIM) directed to physicians and health professionals with a view to clarifying and encouraging this category to encourage the oncological population to practice some type of exercise.

What are the benefits?

Studies show that physical exercise improves bone health, acts in the prevention of osteoporosis, depressive and anxiety disorders, reduces fatigue, improves sleep and improves cognitive functions. Although, to a lesser extent, there is evidence that when practicing some exercise, the level of cardiotoxicity and chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy also reduces.

What kind of exercise to indicate?

The elaboration and monitoring of the practice of physical activity is the responsibility of the Physical Educator. However, health professionals in particular, physicians need to understand what effects exercise exerts on the body and how it should be performed, in order to endorse its orientation. Aerobic activity performed 3 x per week for a time of 30 minutes already has benefits in combating the disease. In addition, the resistance exercise it also has its advantages, made from 8 to 15 repetitions with a small number of sets to each muscle group and slow progression of the load, has a positive influence on the prognosis of the disease.

Clinical practice

Thus, it is remarkable that physical exercise is a potent remedy for those who wish to prevent, treat and prevent recurrence of cancer. It is of paramount importance that health professionals are able to answer patients’ doubts regarding the safety and efficiency of such practice in order to ensure abandonment to sedentary habits.

Thus, in a practical way, it is up to the oncologist to welcome, advise and guide the performance of aerobic exercises such as walking, dancing and also the bodybuilding exercises that should be indicated to patients qualified to exercise at least 3 times a week.

Article: Exercise is medicine in oncology: SCHMITZ, Kathryn H.; CAMPBELL, Anna M.; STUIVER, Martijn M.; PINTO, M. Bernardine; SCHWARTZ, Anna L.; MORRIS, G. Stephen; LIGIBEL, Jennifer A.; CHEVILLE, Andrea; GALVÃO, Daniel A.; ALFANO, Catherine M.. Exercise is medicine in oncology: engaging clinicians to help patients move through cancer. Ca: The Cancer Journal for Clinicians, [S .L.], v. 69, n. 6, p. 468-484, Oct. 16 2019. Wiley.

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