“If the effects of exercise could be encapsulated in a pill, it would be prescribed to every cancer patient worldwide and viewed as a major breakthrough in cancer treatment,” she writes for the Conversation. “If we had a pill called exercise it would be demanded by cancer patients, prescribed by every cancer specialist, and subsidised by government.”
Gone are the days of wrapping cancer patients in “cotton wool”, according to Dr David Speakman, chief medical officer at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre.
“Our attitudes to treating cancer, what it takes to give people their best chance at survival, have to change. All cancer patients will benefit from an exercise prescription.’
Nicole Cooper, 33, was diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer last year, and believes one reason she is still alive is the exercise regime she followed while undergoing treatment. “When I received a terminal cancer diagnosis, I was prescribed two potentially lifesaving cancer treatments: chemotherapy and exercise,” she said.
Cormie said the evidence-based guidelines recommended people with cancer be as physically active as their current ability and conditions allowed. For significant health benefits, they should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise weekly and two to three resistance exercise sessions (such as weightlifting).
“These recommendations should be tailored to the individual’s abilities to minimise the risk of complications and maximise the benefits.”