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Nurses not advising cancer patients to exercise

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Four in five cancer patients are not being told about the benefits of exercise after treatment by professionals including specialist nurses even though it can minimise side effects and help stop cancer returning, according to a survey by Macmillan Cancer Support.

Of more than 400 who completed treatment in the last two years, 79 per cent said clinical nurses specialists did not speak to them about the importance of being physically active. That figure was 82 per cent for GPs and 77 per cent for oncologists.

The poll also revealed 37 per cent were not physically active at all, potentially putting their recovery at risk.

Being active can help reduce the impact of side effects of cancer treatment such as fatigue, muscle wasting, decreased mobility, depression and anxiety. Macmillan’s chief medical officer and clinical oncologist Jane Maher said: “As a cancer specialist it’s hard to encourage people to think about fitness during and after gruelling cancer treatment.

“But increasingly, many patients will need our help to bust the myth that resting up is always the right thing to do, so they do not miss out on the ‘wonder drug’ of exercise that can make all the difference to recovery.”


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