Advanced cancer patients can benefit from programs combining exercise, nutrition

Patients with advanced cancer can benefit from a rehabilitation program combining exercise, nutritional counselling and symptom control, according to an evidence review in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal). Palliative care programs should be expanded to include these elements and should be available to patients from diagnosis.

Programs for people with earlier stage combine diet and exercise, but few programs include patients with advanced cancer.

"Cancer rehabilitation is a process that assists a person with a to obtain optimal physical, social, psychological and vocational functioning within the limits created by the disease and its treatment," write Dr. Martin Chasen, Division of Palliative Care, Élisabeth-Bruyère Hospital, Ottawa, Ontario, with coauthors.

Evidence from rehabilitation programs at several Canadian hospitals show improvement in fatigue and physical endurance, symptom alleviation, mood and quality of life after embarking on specialized nutritional and exercise regimens. The Jewish General Hospital and the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal, Quebec and Élisabeth-Bruyère Hospital, Ottawa, operate rehabilitation programs and have reported on patient outcomes.

"When caring for patients, we may limit our horizons if we fail to recognize the influence of their psychological state, nutrition, physical activity, symptoms and functional status on their disease and response to therapy," write the authors. "A truly comprehensive care program will incorporate elements that address each of these aspects."

They suggest that cancer centres should add rehabilitation services as part of the ongoing care of patients with advanced cancer.

"We propose that current evidence and community expectations are sufficient to encourage Canadian cancer centres to consider establishing full rehabilitation research models for patients with ," the authors conclude.

More information: Canadian Medical Association Journal, www.cmaj.ca/lookup/doi/10.1503/cmaj.131402

Related Stories

Recommended for you

DNA blood test detects lung cancer mutations

date 19 hours ago

Cancer DNA circulating in the bloodstream of lung cancer patients can provide doctors with vital mutation information that can help optimise treatment when tumour tissue is not available, an international group of researchers ...

Tumors prefer the easy way out

date 21 hours ago

Tumor cells become lethal when they spread. Blocking this process can be a powerful way to stop cancer. Historically, scientists thought that tumor cells migrated by brute force, actively pushing through whatever ...

Brain tumors may be new targets of Ebola-like virus

date 21 hours ago

Brain tumors are notoriously difficult for most drugs to reach, but Yale researchers have found a promising but unlikely new ally against brain cancers—portions of a deadly virus similar to Ebola.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.