Exercise as it relates to Disease/The effectiveness of exercise as a part of Cancer rehabilitation

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This page is looking at the article "Exercise and cancer rehabilitation: a systematic review." Cancer treatment reviews 36.2 (2010) Spence, Rosalind R., Kristiann C. Heesch, and Wendy J. Brown.


In recent times cancer has begun to be looked at like other chronic diseases that require a long term approach and management. With that the need for evidence based interventions for cancer survivors in rehabilitation is increasing. There have been reviews that looked at the benefits of exercise as a part of the treatment process. Therefore this review looks at literature that is looking at the health effects of exercise during cancer rehabilitation that immediately follows the completion of treatment.


The Type of Research, Where it Originated and How it was Achieved[edit]

This was a systematic review of research that had already been done in the area of post cancer treatment rehabilitation, looking and at evaluating the effectiveness of exercise.

The review was done by first identifying relevant studies with systematic searches of both PubMed and Embase. Taking data on areas such as study design, recruitment strategy, participants, exercise intervention, adherence rates, and outcomes. While using a structured rating system to assess the Methodological rigor of each of the studies. All in all there were 10 studies looked at for the review.

Basic Results[edit]

It was found that breast cancer patients were the most common/predominant group looked at in the research. The interventions used by the studies were either aerobic based or resistance training based. With variations in areas such as exercise type, frequency, duration and intensity across the studies.

There were encouraging signs with improvements seen in physical functioning, strength, physical activity levels, quality of life, fatigue, immune function, and body composition across the 10 different studies. Although not all of these areas were recorded in each of the studies looked at. With at any point a few different studies looking at each on of the parameters mentioned.

None of the studies met all of the criteria to measure quality in the review.

Interpretation of Results by Researchers[edit]

The researches found that the Methodological limitations have really held back the research done in the area up to this point. Given it is still a rising field that still requires more research done in the area to be able to firm up the findings.

Research Conclusions and Implications[edit]

The implications from this review goes to show that there is a need for further research into the area of exercise as a part of the rehabilitation of cancer patients post treatment. With greater Methodological rigor to help with the quality to help draw stronger conclusions from the research.


What was found is encouraging in that exercise was helpful in the rehabilitation process but with need for further research. But in saying that it can be recommended to engage in a exercise program post treatment. Whether that is aerobic, resistance, or even a combination of the two as in the research it was found that exercise can help in areas like quality of life and immune function.


Some things to take into consideration for future research in the area would be;

  • Develop a consistent timeframe to define the rehabilitation period
  • Evaluate changes in outcomes most relevant to the rehabilitation period
  • Identify appropriate measures of these outcomes for the target population, and standardise

measures to allow for cross-study comparisons

  • Undertake further feasibility studies in understudied populations to ensure piloting of

interventions and collection of baseline data for future sample size calculations, prior to implementing large scale studies

And these are just a few taken directly from the "Future Directions" part of the Review

Other links[edit]

  • www.cancer.org - Cancer Council
  • canceraustralia.gov.au/ - Cancer Australia
  • www.nbcf.org.au - National Breast Cancer Foundation


1. Spence, Rosalind R., Kristiann C. Heesch, and Wendy J. Brown. "Exercise and cancer rehabilitation: a systematic review." Cancer treatment reviews 36.2 (2010): 185-194.