Cancer patients could improve their quality of life by exercising regularly, two new studies by the Cochrane Collaboration suggest.
The reviews, by an international network of researchers led from Albuquerque, focused on the health benefits of physical activity on those who were either still treated for cancer or had just completed treatment.
The first study involved a review of 56 trials with a total of nearly 5,000 participants in treatment for cancer, while the second review focused on the data of more than 3,500 people who had finished treatment.
Participants undertook a variety of exercises such as walking, yoga, cycling or strength training, and researchers said the physical activity helped patients, to varying degrees, to improve their quality of life and social functioning.
Patients in the first review reported improvements in their physical wellbeing, while those in the second group said exercise helped them to sleep and feel better, increase their self-esteem and reduce their anxiety levels.
However, the researchers said that regular exercise might not lead to health benefits for all cancer patients.
Lead author Dr Shiraz Mishra of the University of Albuquerque in the US said: “We need to treat these findings with caution.
The trials we included looked at many different kinds of exercise programmes, which varied by type of exercise, length of the programme and how hard the participants had to exercise.”
Exercise interventions on health-related quality of life for people with cancer during active treatment.