Moderate exercise a few times a week, done regularly, could improve the mental and physical health of lung cancer survivors, according to a new study.
The study led by Fox Chase Cancer Centre researcher showed that regular physical activity could perk up the quality of life in early-stage lung cancer survivors.
Elliot Coups Ph.D., associate member of Fox Chase Cancer Centre's faculty and a participant in the Fox Chase Keystone Program in Cancer Risk and Prevention found that patients who are more physically active report better mood, more vigour, and greater physical functioning.
"The take-home message is that early-stage lung cancer survivors may benefit, both mentally and physically, from simple moderate exercise," said Coups.
"Of course, we're generally not talking marathons here, but smaller, everyday forms of activity like going for a brisk walk several times a week," he added.
The team examined 175 people with an average age of 68 who had completed surgical treatment for early-stage non-small cell lung cancer within the previous six years.
Approximately one in four participants met physical activity guidelines, which call for about 60 minutes each week of strenuous activity, such as jogging, or 150 minutes of moderate exercise, such as walking briskly.
Overall, the level of activity for survey participants was comparable to that of the population at large for their age group, Coups said.
Moreover, participants reported fewer depressive symptoms, greater vitality, and less shortness of breath when compared to their more sedentary counterparts.
"With early detection and treatment, more people may live longer following surgery for early-stage lung cancer," Coups said.
"For these individuals, the act of surviving cancer will follow them the rest of their days, and we are interested in understanding what we can do to promote their overall health and well-being," he added.
The study appears in journal Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention.