“We’re at the point where we know exercise is an evidence-based treatment with robust effects. If we don’t prescribe it, when does that become malpractice?
Dr. Kathryn Schmitz, researcher, Penn State Cancer Institute
Author: Jessica Cerretani
In 2010, researchers and clinicians gathered at an interdisciplinary meeting to review the evidence on the safety of exercise in people living with cancer. The resulting American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Roundtable report—one of the first of its kind—advised cancer survivors to avoid inactivity.
Eight years later, the group expanded its guidelines: Include exercise in cancer prevention, control, and survivorship. The evidence to support these guidelines is overwhelmingly reassuring: Studies suggest that regular physical activity is associated with fewer or milder side effects from chemotherapy, improved quality of life, and even lower odds of cancer recurrence and mortality.
While research continues, leading investigators in the field say that every physician and other health care provider should consider prescribing exercise to their patients with cancer. “We’re at a really wonderful moment in the field of exercise oncology where we have enough evidence to prescribe exercise, but we still have so much more to learn,” says Kathryn Schmitz, a researcher at the Penn State Cancer Institute who chaired the ACSM’s roundtables.