- Walking and jogging helps reduce the side effects of chemotherapy in patients with advanced gastrointestinal cancer.
- Exercise has a positive effect on the patient and reduce the chances of relapses.
- Moderate physical activity improved muscle mass and reduced the toxicity of the chemotherapy.
Physical activities like walking and jogging helps patients with advanced gastrointestinal cancer to cope better with the side effects of chemotherapy, finds a new study. The study conducted by Katrin Stücher, from the Department of Sports Medicine at the Goethe University Frankfurt.
Exercise has a positive effect on the muscles and tumor-related fatigue syndrome. Exercise as a therapy helps patient experience less disease recurrence later on.
Studies have been conducted earlier on the effect of exercise on reducing the side effects of chemotherapy. However, those studies examined patients in the early stages of the illness and did not differentiate between various types of tumor.
- Loss of sensation
- Severe diarrhea
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
The study, a joint initiative of the Department of Sports Medicine headed by Professor Winfried Banzer and of Medical Clinic I together with the Gastrointestinal Centre of Agaplesion Markus Hospital in Frankfurt, both led by Professor Axel Dignaß, shows that patients with an advanced gastrointestinal tumor can also profit from exercise therapy.
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends exercise for three times a week for 50 minutes or five times a week for 30 minutes. The study participants followed the exercise recommendations. If they were able to manage this, they were allowed to shorten their training sessions on the basis of a standardized model.
"For some patients, it was difficult to carry out the walking or jogging program in accordance with the recommendations," explains Katrin Stücher. "A frequent obstacle was the weather: either it was too cold, too hot or too wet."
The complementary exercise therapy proved valuable for the study participants despite the need for occasional breaks.
Exercise as a therapy improved muscle mass and functional properties such as balance, walking speed and leg strength. The study also showed first indications that the toxicity of the chemotherapy can be reduced through moderate activity. This is important because due to severe toxic effects that patients with gastrointestinal cancer often have to reduce the dose or even discontinue the chemotherapy altogether.
"I go walking every morning. It's good for both my mind and my body and I'm sure it's contributing to my recovery. I think that if you hadn't encouraged me to continue exercising I would probably not have dared to push myself so far physically," reported one of the participants to Katrin Stücher.
"We believe that it will make sense in future to offer patients opportunities for physical exercise during chemotherapy. To eliminate adversities through the weather, exercise rooms could be set up in hospitals. In addition, we should motivate patients to continue with the program after they have taken a break because of side effects", says Professor Winfried Banzer, Head of the Department of Sports Medicine at Goethe University Frankfurt.
- Side Effects of Chemotherapy - (http://www.cancer.net/navigating-cancer-care/how-cancer-treated/chemotherapy/side-effects-chemotherapy)