Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Evidence-based physical activity guidelines for cancer survivors

Physical activity during and after cancer treatment has beneficial effects on a number of physical and psychosocial outcomes. In a paper that was just published in the journal Cancer Treatment Reviews, with Dr. Laurien Buffart as first author, we discuss the existing physical activity guidelines for cancer survivors and describe future research directions to optimize prescriptions for physical activity among cancer survivors.
Physical activity guidelines for cancer survivors suggest that physical activity should be an integral and continuous part of care for all cancer survivors. However, the development of these guidelines has been limited by the research conducted. To be able to develop more specific guidelines, future studies should focus on identifying clinical, personal, physical, psychosocial, and intervention moderators explaining ‘for whom’ or ‘under what circumstances’ interventions work. Further, more insight into the working mechanisms of exercise interventions on health outcomes in cancer survivors is needed to improve the efficacy and efficiency of interventions. Finally, existing programs should embrace interests and preferences of patients to facilitate optimal uptake of interventions. In conclusion, current physical activity guidelines for cancer survivors are generic, and research is needed to develop more personalized physical activity guidelines. In an ongoing project called POLARIS (Predicting OptimaL cAncer RehabIlitation and Supportive care) we are using existing data from many countries in individual patient data meta analyses to inform better tailored and targeted recommendations for cancer survivors.