Physical activity for cancer survivorsBMJ 2012; 344 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.d7998 (Published 31 January 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:d7998
- Liam Bourke, lecturer in public health research1,
- Derek Rosario, consultant urological surgeon 2,
- Robert Copeland, principal research fellow3,
- Stephanie Taylor, professor of public health and primary care1
- 1Department of Primary Care and Public Health, Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London, London E1 2AT, UK
- 2Academic Urology Unit, Department of Oncology, Royal Hallamshire Hospital, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK S11 7FE.
- 3Centre for Sport and Exercise Science, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, UK
In 2008, more than 12 million people worldwide were diagnosed with cancer (http://globocan.iarc.fr/). Because of improvements in early diagnosis and the introduction of more aggressive treatments over the past 20 years, cancer survivors are now living longer.1 However, treatment often leads to a range of undesirable and debilitating adverse effects.
In the linked meta-analysis (doi:10.1136/bmj.e70), Fong and colleagues assess the effects of physical activity after treatment for cancer on 48 separate health related outcomes.2 The potential for exercise interventions to benefit survivors of cancer is a burgeoning area of research, and systematic reviews and meta-analyses have reported that exercise can reduce fatigue and improve functional outcomes and health related quality of life.3 4 5 These reports have also called for larger trials that have a greater focus on study quality and adverse events and longer follow-up.
Fong and colleagues’ meta-analysis reviewed 34 randomised trials (of which 22 were dedicated breast cancer studies) that assessed the effects of aerobic exercise, and in some studies also …