In general, a person with cancer should be encouraged to engage in an exercise program if feasible.

Benefits of exercise include:

(1) control of body weight

(2) improve mood and quality of life

(3) enhanced sleep

(4) reduce social isolation

(5) improve physical function and stamina

(6) reduce fatigue


General goals from the Australian guidelines:

(1) at least 150 hours of moderate or 75 hours of vigorous exercise per week

(2) 2 or 3 sessions of moderate resistance exercise per week


The patient should be evaluated prior and during cancer care for factors that may complicate exercise.


Complicating conditions may include:

(1) immunosuppression

(2) bone fragility

(3) medication side effects

(4) photosensitivity

(5) reduced lung capacity

(6) heart failure

(7) neurologic issues (balance, vertigo and peripheral neuropathy)

(8) other comorbid conditions

(9) stigmatizing findings

(10) anemia, neutropenia or thrombocytopenia

(11) chemotherapy schedule


Recommendations for a patient with complicating conditions:

(1) The patient should be referred to an exercise trainer competent in dealing with cancer patients.

(2) The patient should avoid situations that could cause problems (contraindications).

(3) Exercising in a group or with a buddy can improve response if there is a problem.

(4) Monitoring devices can help to alert to problem situations.

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