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Physical exercise benefits even elderly people with advanced cancer

Practicing physical exercise can benefit even elderly people with advanced-stage cancer, according to a new Brazilian study presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (Asco 2024), the largest oncology congress in the world, held in Chicago, in the United States, between May 31st and June 4th.

The research was led by Oncoclínicas&Co oncologist, Paulo Bergerot, who is also the representative of Latin America in the recently formed International Society of Exercise Oncology . The results showed that patients over 65 years of age and undergoing cancer treatment had an improvement in their quality of life and relief from some side effects of immuno and chemotherapy medications after 12 weeks of following a moderate physical activity routine.

“The big message from this study is that patients undergoing cancer treatment should stay active. There is no longer this story of keeping the patient protected, saving energy because of the treatment. It’s exactly the opposite,” says Bergerot.

Personalized routine

All 41 study participants were over 65 years old and treated for stage 3 or 4 cancer, considered advanced or metastatic. Furthermore, they were patients who were beginning a line of systemic treatment, that is, with medication — chemotherapy or immunotherapy, in general.

“For anyone, we know that it is difficult to adhere to and continue physical activity. For cancer patients it is even more challenging, and if they are elderly it is an almost impossible mission”, comments Bergerot. To overcome this barrier, the researchers opted for a personalized strategy, in which each participant had their own exercise routine.

The activities were stipulated by a physical educator, who considered the clinical condition of each patient and their daily reality, such as the use of accessories that they had in their own homes. At the end of the 12 weeks, participants showed an improvement in quality of life of around 10 points on the FACT-G scale. The method considers the perception of physical, social and family, emotional and functional well-being on a scale that ranges from 0 to 108 points. In addition, physical practice has also been shown to alleviate some of the symptoms of cancer and common side effects in treating the disease.

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Source: CNN Brasil

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