According to an investigation published on, cancer patients who have completed their primary cancer-related treatment, who engage in physical activity, can enhance their health.

Earlier studies discovered that individuals with cancer anticipate to return to normal daily activities after completing their primary cancer-related treatment. However, these patients often find they experience lower physical activity, increased fatigue and a decrease in quality of life (QOL). Although, several health factors including QOL can be enhanced through engaging in exercise, according to studies.

Investigators from the University of Hong Kong examined the results of 34 human trials that evaluated how exercise effects adult individuals with cancer. Each trial consisted of an average of 93 participants who had either suffered from prostate, breast, lung, colorectal, gynecologic or gastric cancer. The average age of the participants was 55 years.

The trials included resistance, strength and aerobic training for a median duration of 13 weeks.

Health improvements, such as BMI and body weight, blood sugar control, lower limb strength, fatigue, depression and QOL, were observed among participant’s who received breast cancer treatment who engaged in a period of physical activity.

Improvements, such as oxygen consumption, depression, BMI, body weight, handgrip strength and QOL, were also observed among patients who completed treatments for other types of cancer.

Furthermore, variations in intensity and type of physical activity influenced the physical health of cancer patients and played a vital role in the effects of the exercise. Individuals with breast cancer found that resistance and aerobic exercise was considerably more effective on emotional and physical fitness, as well as concerns regarding breast cancer and overall well-being, than aerobic activity alone.

In addition, the researchers found that the effect of exercise was greater on younger patients. However, this finding was not fully conclusive, as they were able to engage in physical activity for longer durations.

According to the researchers, additional trials are required, particularly on the intensity of activity needed and on individuals with cancer types other than breast cancer.

They conclude that:

“Quality of life was a clear significant benefit of physical activity and that clinically, there were important positive effects on physical functions and quality of life.”

Written by Grace Rattue