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Effects of Exercise on Quality of Life and Prognosis in Cancer Survivors

Speed-Andrews, Amy E.; Courneya, Kerry S.

Current Sports Medicine Reports: July-August 2009 - Volume 8 - Issue 4 - p 176-181
doi: 10.1249/JSR.0b013e3181ae98f3
Section Articles

Cancer is a global health problem with over 10 million cancer survivors in the United States alone. Cancer and its treatments often produce side effects that undermine quality of life. The purpose of this article is to review research examining the effects of physical activity (PA) upon quality of life and disease prognosis in cancer survivors. We divide our review into PA studies focusing upon (a) quality of life during treatments, (b) quality of life during survivorship (after treatments), (c) quality of life during palliative care, and (d) disease prognosis end points. Compelling clinical trial data indicate that PA can improve quality of life end points during treatment and survivorship. Data during palliative care is limited. Observational data suggest that PA may reduce the risk of disease recurrence and extend survival in some cancer survivors. Research findings suggest that PA is an appropriate recommendation for most cancer survivors, although many research questions remain.

Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Address for correspondence: Kerry S. Courneya, Ph.D., Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation, University of Alberta, E-488 Van Vliet Center, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, T6G 2H9 (E-mail:

© 2009 American College of Sports Medicine