Woman speed walking: ‘Withholding exercise from cancer patients can be harmful,’ experts say.© Getty Images ‘Withholding exercise from cancer patients can be harmful,’ experts say. Exercise should be prescribed to all cancer patients, and not to do so would be harmful, some of Australia’s leading experts on cancer have warned.

The Clinical Oncology Society of Australia has launched its position statement on the role of exercise alongside surgery, chemotherapy or radiation in cancer care.

Endorsed by a group of 25 influential health and cancer organisations, including Cancer Council Australia, it is the first researcher-led push anywhere in the world for exercise to be an essential component of treatment.

The lead author, Prof Prue Cormie from the Australian Catholic University, said the statement was based on “indisputable” evidence. “Really we are at the stage where the science is telling us that withholding exercise from cancer patients can be harmful,” Cormie said.

“Exercise is the best medicine someone with cancer can take in addition to their standard cancer treatments. That’s because we know now that people who exercise regularly experience fewer and less severe treatment side-effects; cancer-related fatigue, mental distress, quality of life.”

They also have a lower risk of their cancer coming back or dying from the disease, Cormie said.

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