Initiating exercise interventions to promote wellness in cancer patients and survivors

Anna L. Schwartz, Hendrik Dirk de Heer, Jennifer W. Bea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Exercise is associated with significant reductions in the recurrence and mortality rates of several common cancers. Cancer survivors who exercise can potentially benefit from reduced levels of fatigue, and improved quality of life, physical function, and body composition (ie, healthier ratios of lean body mass to fat mass). The amount of activity required to achieve protective effects is moderate (eg, walking 30 minutes per day at 2.5 miles per hour). However, many healthcare providers report a lack of awareness of the appropriate exercise recommendations across the phases of cancer survivorship, considerations regarding the timing of exercise interventions, and the ability to refer patients to exercise programs specifically aimed at cancer survivors. The American College of Sports Medicine notes that exercise is generally safe for most cancer survivors, and inactivity should be avoided. Their guidelines for exercise call for 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week, and 2 days per week of resistance training (eg, with exercise bands or light weights). Survivors with lymphedema, peripheral neuropathy, breast reconstruction, central lines, and ostomies should follow specific precautions. Providing health professionals with the training and tools needed to provide adequate recommendations to their patients is essential to improving patient outcomes. To facilitate adherence among communities with the greatest need and poor access to services, cultural and environmental adaptations are critical.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)711-717
Number of pages7
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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