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Exercise 'helps cancer patients'

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Exercise and training regimes of the kind undertaken by athletes can help cancer patients who are undergoing chemotherapy, according to a trial report published by BMJ.

The research shows that high and low-intensity cardiovascular and resistance training reduces fatigue and improves vitality, muscular strength, aerobic capacity and emotional well-being.

However, the report concludes that the training, which amounted to nine hours a week for six weeks, did not improve overall quality of life.

Nevertheless, it says, patients who took part suffered “significantly” less fatigue than those who did not, and that even patients with advanced disease might benefit.

The report says: “There is a considerable rationale for promoting multi-modal exercise interventions to improve physical capacity, vitality, physical and mental well-being and relieving fatigue during chemotherapy; thereby supporting cancer patients’ daily living activities.”

The lead author of the report, Professor Lis Adamsen from Copenhagen University Hospitals, says the exercise helped alleviate chemotherapy side-effects such as nausea, vomiting, pain, insomnia, appetite loss and fatigue.

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