Position statement on exercise medicine in cancer management updated by Australian researchers and clinicians

In 2009, Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA) published the first ever position statement on exercise guidelines for people with cancer in the world. Since then, there has been exponential growth in research evaluating the role of exercise pre-, during and post-cancer treatment.

An update on this position statement has just been released and published by researchers from Queensland University of Technology and Edith Cowan University. This position statement presents contemporary evidence of the benefits of exercise following a cancer diagnosis, and the recommended process for targeted, exercise prescription for cancer patients.

“This updated exercise and cancer position statement from ESSA has the purpose of guiding individualised, targeted exercise prescription to cancer patients through the application of evidence, clinical experience and exercise principles,” said Anita Hobson-Powell, ESSA Chief Executive Officer.

“It also recognises that Accredited Exercise Physiologists (AEPs) remain best-placed to prescribe targeted exercise advice and support for people with cancer.”

The position statement reports that the optimal exercise prescription is to be determined by individual patient assessment, identification and consideration of general and cancer-specific health issues and their contribution to quality of life, and subsequent patient-driven goals.

“While for the majority of cancer patients, moderate to high intensity exercise will likely be appropriate, there is no set prescription and total weekly dosage that would be considered evidence-based for all cancer patients,” explained Sandi Hayes, lead author and Senior Research Fellow from the Queensland University of Technology.

“Targeted exercise prescription, which includes the provision of behaviour change advice and support, is needed to ensure greatest benefit (as defined by the patient) in the short and longer term, with low risk of harm.”

To read the ESSA position statement: Exercise medicine in cancer in full, click here.