For lung cancer patients and survivors, exercise and physical activity should be considered as therapeutic options as they have been shown to increase exercise tolerance, reduce symptoms, improve quality of life, and possibly reduce the length of hospital stays and complications following lung cancer surgery. According to a Science Daily news report, an inexpensive and fairly simple cancer therapy could be physical activity, though clinicians underutilize exercise as therapy.

This may be partially due to lack of evidence-based consensus as to how and when to implement increasing physical activity. Researchers have reviewed the benefits, safety, and application of increasing physical activity and exercise in lung cancer patients with the goal to summarize the effect on improved lung cancer outcomes. The authors of the study found that most lung cancer patients want physical activity advice from a physician prior to cancer treatment, also noting that exercise guidance may increase compliance with a dedicated program.

The Science Daily news report notes that physical activity reduces risk of cancer development in multiple cancer types, including lung cancer, with large trials showing the link between exercise with reduced all-cause mortality. Also, self-reported moderately vigorous physical activity led to lower risk of all-cause and cancer-specific mortality. Perioperative exercise in lung cancer patients appears to be safe with improvement in operative risk, operability, post-operative complications, and increased exercise capacity.

The authors of the study conclude, “Clinicians should (at minimum) consider physical activity early, counsel against inactivity, and encourage physical activity in all stages of lung cancer patients and lung cancer survivors. This review shows uniform recognition that exercise and physical activity are safe for those with lung cancer, patients are requesting increased activity counseling, and multiple studies and reviews show potential clinical benefit in quality of life, exercise tolerance, and post-operative complications.”

The authors add, “Further, we know that inactivity in cancer patients is associated with worse outcomes. [However] there are still large gaps in the published literature to be addressed and these could be filled with large definitive prospective trials that evaluate the benefit of exercise in lung cancer patients.”

Source: Science Daily