Physical activity and exercise in the prevention and treatment of cancer
Physical activity and regular exercise are associated with a reduced risk of many types of cancer and cancer reoccurrence. Exercise is also a safe and effective intervention to counteract the adverse physical and psychological effects of cancer and its treatment.
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Insufficient physical activity is a key risk factor contributing to disease burden in Australia .
The 2017-2018 Australian National Health Survey found that less than 45% of adults were active enough, with only 41% of women, 50% of men and few older Australians (25% of women, 31% of men over 65 years old) meeting the national guidelines .
In 2017-2018, only 23% of Australian adults (22% of women, 25% of men) met the muscle strength training guidelines of at least 2 days a week .
In 2017-2018, only 15% of adults (14% of women, 17% of men) met both the physical activity and muscle strengthening aspects of the guidelines.
Almost half (43.7%) of Australian adults aged 18-64 years described their work day as ‘mostly sitting’ .
The Cancer Council and Clinical Oncology Society of Australia recognise that exercise has the benefits of reducing side effects with cancer treatments, and lowering the risk of reoccurrence as well as mortality, yet is not routinely prescibed as part of a patient’s routine treatment planm .
PHYSICAL INACTIVITY AND SITTING TIME:
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY BEFORE AND AFTER DIAGNOSIS:
SIDE EFFECTS OF CANCER TREATMENT:
1. EXERCISE HAS ADDITIONAL BENEFITS FOR CANCER PATIENTS 
2. CANCER-RELATED FATIGUE:
3. PHYSICAL FITNESS:
4. PSYCHOLOGICAL FUNCTION:
5. PHYSICAL FUNCTION:
6. QUALITY OF LIFE:
7. TOLERATING TREATMENT:
8. BIOMARKERS ASSOCIATED WITH CANCER PROGRESSION:
9. ADDITIONAL BENEFITS:
BARRIERS AND FACILITATORS:
What can we do about it
TO PREVENT CANCER:
FOR CANCER PATIENTS :
Although generally safe, patients should be screened and appropriate precautions taken.
Individuals diagnosed with cancer should return to normal daily physical activity (as much as their current abilities and conditions allow) as soon as possible after diagnosis, aiming to build up to and maintain participation in:
Exercise programs should be designed around the individual’s specific needs and abilities by an accredited exercise physiologist or physiotherapist.
Physical activity has been clearly shown to improve cancer risk and survival for many types of cancer. Being physically active every day is a vital step that people of all ages and abilities can take to prevent, treat, and control cancer.
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