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Expert Panel: Cancer Treatment Plans Should Include Tailored Exercise Prescriptions

October 16, 2019

Expert Panel: Cancer Treatment Plans Should Include Tailored Exercise Prescriptions

Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology is the Canadian partner on the development of new recommendations for incorporating exercise into Cancer prevention and treatment.
OTTAWA, ON – New guidance published today from exercise oncology experts recommends how health care and qualified exercise professionals can use exercise prescription to develop exercise programs that lower the risk of developing certain cancers and meet the needs of those living with cancer as well as survivors.

The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP) was one of 17 partner organizations on a roundtable of experts convened by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), to review the latest scientific evidence and offer recommendations about the benefits of exercise for prevention, treatment, recovery and improved survival.

“With more than 43 million cancer survivors worldwide, we have a growing need to address the unique health issues facing people living with and beyond cancer and better understand how exercise may help prevent and control cancer,” said ACSM Immediate Past President Katie Schmitz, Ph.D., FACSM, who co-chaired the roundtable. “This esteemed, multidisciplinary group of leaders on the forefront of exercise oncology aimed to translate the latest scientific evidence into practical recommendations for clinicians and the public and to create global impact through a unified voice.”

The new evidence-based guidelines emphasize the strong benefit of physical activity and how it can be used to improve many of the common side effects of cancer treatments, like fatigue. Experts now recommend that cancer patients and survivors strive to complete 30 minutes sessions of aerobic and resistance exercise three times per week to achieve health benefits. The research reinforces the conversation in Canada and around the world of the importance of exercise as part of supportive care in cancer. 

“I was proud to represent CSEP and bring a Canadian voice to this important international work. The key recommendations from the work of the roundtable will benefit the lives of Canadians and provides qualified exercise professionals targeted guidance on the type of exercise and the amount needed,” says Dr. Kristin Campbell, University of British Columbia and CSEP member. “In Canada, CSEP Certified Exercise Physiologists® (CSEP-CEPs) have the experience to design and deliver exercise programs tailored to the needs of individuals living with cancer and survivors.”

"CSEP is committed to translating advances in exercise science research and working with international partners to bring the best evidence into practice, which is why it was important to us to be a sponsor of The Roundtable on Exercise and Cancer Prevention and Control. The key recommendations from the group will help advance the importance of physical activity for cancer prevention, those living with cancer and survivors," says Dr. Panagiota (Nota) Klentrou, Chair of the CSEP Board of Directors.

The new evidenced-based guidance and recommendations include:
  • For all adults, exercise is important for cancer prevention and specifically lowers risk of seven common types of cancer: colon, breast, endometrial, kidney, bladder, esophagus and stomach
  • For cancer survivors, incorporate exercise to help improve survival after a diagnosis of breast, colon and prostate cancer
  • Exercising during and after cancer treatment improves fatigue, anxiety, depression, physical function, quality of life and does not exacerbate lymphedema
  • Continue research that will drive the integration of exercise into the standard of care for cancer
  • Translate into practice the increasingly robust evidence base about the positive effects of exercise for cancer patients
The comprehensive review and recommendations are outlined in three academic papers: “Exercise Guidelines for Cancer Survivors: Consensus Statement from International Multidisciplinary Roundtable” and “American College of Sports Medicine Roundtable Report on Physical Activity, Sedentary Behavior, and Cancer Prevention and Control” published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise®, ACSM’s flagship research journal. The third paper, “Exercise Is Medicine in Oncology: Engaging Clinicians to Help Patients Move Through Cancer,” was published in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, a flagship journal of the American Cancer Society.

To implement the recommendation for translating evidence into practice, ACSM and its Exercise is Medicine (EIM) initiative also introduced a new program, Moving Through Cancer. The clinician-focused program aims to ensure that all people living with and beyond cancer are assessed, referred to and engaged in appropriate exercise and rehabilitation programming as a standard of care. Resources are available for oncology clinicians and patients, including a global, registry of exercise programs at www.exerciseismedicine.org/movingthroughcancer.

Partner organizations that participated in the roundtable include: ACSM, American Cancer Society, the National Cancer Institute—part of the National Institutes of Health, American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, American College of Lifestyle Medicine, American Physical Therapy Association, American Society of Clinical Oncology, Canadian Society of Exercise Physiology, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Commission on Accreditation for Rehabilitation Facilities, German Union for Health Exercise, Exercise and Sport Science Australia, Macmillan Cancer Support, National Comprehensive Cancer Network, Royal Dutch Society for Physical Therapy, Society of Behavioral Medicine, Society of Surgical Oncology and Sunflower Wellness.

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About the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology
The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP) is the Gold Standard in exercise science and personal training in Canada. It is the resource for translating advances in exercise science research into the promotion of fitness, performance, and health outcomes for Canadians. Founded in 1967, CSEP is a voluntary organization composed of professionals interested and involved in the scientific study of exercise physiology, exercise biochemistry, fitness and health. CSEP's over 5000 members include leading experts in the field and the best qualified exercise professionals in Canada who bring science to practice through their knowledge and skills.

For more information or to schedule an interview:
Kaleigh Maclaren, Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology
kmaclaren@csep.ca | 613-222-6680

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