Exercise ups survival for cancer patients

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Even modest physical activity can significantly reduce death risk in men suffering from colorectal cancer, say researchers. They found that patients who engaged in modest physical activity were 53 % more likely to be alive and free of the disease than those who were less physically active.

"Moderate exercise has now been incorporated in some guidelines for colorectal cancer survivors and this new research should further reinforce to oncologists that they should discuss this in their survivorship plan," said study’s lead author Dr Jeffrey A. Meyerhardt, MPH, of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

"However, while our work found a significant benefit for patients who exercise, it is important that exercise still be seen as a supplement to, not a replacement for, standard therapies," Meyerhardt said in his statement.

During the study, Dr Jeffrey A. Meyerhardt and his team examined 668 men with colorectal cancer. More than 50 % of the men exercised the equivalent of one hour of walking, at least six days per week, although the men engaged in a variety of different recreational exercises.

The advantage of exercise was seen regardless of age, how advanced the cancer, weight and any history of previous physical activity.

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