LifeStyle Relationships Does exercise help overcome fatigue in cancer patients?

Does exercise help overcome fatigue in cancer patients?


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It is known of the benefits in terms of cancer prevention with physical exercise. Now we mention the effect that exercise has on patients who are under active cancer treatment and the fatigue that this generates.

It is estimated that approximately 11 million new cases of cancer occur worldwide per year, cancer is a serious health problem worldwide.

Currently there are 3 treatments for cancer in general, surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy, in recent years exercise has been found as an auxiliary in treatment.

Fatigue related to cancer or cancer treatment

Cancer-related fatigue is the most common side effect of cancer treatment, occurring in 60% to 96% of patients undergoing active treatment.

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network defines cancer-related fatigue as “a distressing, persistent, and subjective sense of physical, emotional, and / or cognitive fatigue or exhaustion related to cancer or cancer treatment that is not proportional to activity recent and interferes with normal functioning ”. It is known that cancer-related fatigue can last for years even after treatment is finished.

Exercise is effective against fatigue

Given this detrimental effect, several therapeutic aids have been proposed, including exercise (in different presentations), psychological therapy, relaxation, among others.

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In 2018 a study was published in the British Journal Sport Medicine where a review of 245 articles was made to compare the different exercise alternatives, aerobic training, resistance training, inspiratory muscle training, dance therapy, yoga, among others.

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The Yoga activity was slightly more beneficial in the study groups than the other exercises. However, it was concluded that all the types of exercise studied present a moderate to high effectiveness against cancer-related fatigue, which is why they suggested that the type of exercise should be the patient’s choice.

It is important that both health professionals, family members and cancer patients are aware of this type of alternative therapies, since they reduce the main symptom secondary to treatment, which can improve their quality of life.


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