Exercise Increases Quality of Life for People with Cancer

Cancer and its treatment can diminish quality of life, but two recent reviews of past clinical trials show that exercise can help restore a sense of well-being in both cancer patients and survivors. Measures of quality of life included fatigue, anxiety, and pain, while types of exercise included walking, bicycling, and yoga. The first review looked at 56 trials with a total of 4,826 people who were undergoing cancer treatment. This review showed, for example, that exercise reduced anxiety, fatigue, and sleep disturbances and that the more intense the exercise, the greater the benefits. The second review examined 40 trials with a total of 3,500 people who had completed cancer treatment. This review showed, for example, that people who exercised were less worried and felt less fatigue and pain. They also had better self images, which is key to avoiding the social isolation that can come with changes in appearance due to cancer treatments.