Colon Cancer Survivors Benefit More from Physical Activity

Colon Cancer Survivors Benefit More from Physical Activity

by Dr. Trupti Shirole on Sep 11 2022 12:17 AM
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  • Healthy lifelong habits such as regular physical activity can make a difference in colon cancer survivors’ overall wellness
  • Prolonged recreational physical activity, longer durations of light- to moderate-intensity aerobic exercises, or any vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise improved survival chances in colon cancer patients
Patients receiving surgical treatment for stage III colon cancer may benefit more from physical activity.
About 1,696 individuals who had had chemotherapy and surgery to treat stage III colon cancer were part of the study. The study analyzed how various forms and levels of physical activity might affect how long patients lived healthy lives. Researchers evaluated the type and total amount of physical activity the patients engaged. The researchers contrasted vigorous aerobic exercise, mild and moderate physical activity, brisk walking and muscle-strengthening exercise.

Even while many colon cancer patients first beat the disease, up to one-third of them experience a cancer relapse, which is frequently fatal.

The impact of various types and intensities of physical activity on disease recurrence and death in colon cancer survivors was unknown prior to this investigation. Patients are encouraged by current clinical recommendations to avoid inactivity.

Type of Activities that can Help Colon Cancer Survivors

“Colon cancer survivors are generally told it is best to avoid inactivity. However, many patients want specific guidance on the types of activity that can maximize their probability for cure. This study provides oncologists and their patients with specific information on exactly what type of activity will be most helpful in their goal of remaining alive and cancer free,” said Pennington Biomedical Cancer Metabolism Program Director Justin Brown, PhD, who led the study. “What we found is that larger volumes of recreational physical activity, longer durations of light- to moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity, or any vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity were associated with the highest chances of remaining alive and cancer free. Patients should first identify a physical activity that they enjoy and then refer to the study results to determine how much of that activity is needed to achieve such a health benefit. If you enjoy the activity, you are more likely to stick with it over time.”

The research was conducted as part of an ongoing National Cancer Institute (NCI) experiment that examined several pharmaceutical treatments for colon cancer patients who had undergone surgery. The patients lasted for about six years.

“We were fortunate to be able to conduct this study as an offshoot of the NCI study. By conducting this study within the NCI trial, we eliminated many of the common limitations of prior studies to allow us to zero in on what will benefit the patient and what might not,” Brown said.

“We know that healthy lifelong habits can make a difference in cancer survivors’ overall wellness. This cutting-edge research project provides patients with specific recommendations on how they can take back some level of control against a disease that often feels overwhelming,” said Pennington Biomedical Executive Director John Kirwan, PhD.

The journal article includes comprehensive graphics explaining the advantages of various forms of physical activity and the recommended weekly dosage for achieving disease-free survival.