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Cancer patients should receive exercise classes on the NHS to improve their chances of survival

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Cancer patients should get exercise classes on the NHS to boost their chances of survival, experts say

  • Research shows that staying active significantly reduces the risk of complications
  • Patients who do aerobic exercise, such as walking, report a better quality of life
  • ASCO cancer specialist panel reviewed evidence from dozens of studies

According to experts, cancer patients should receive exercise classes on the NHS to improve their chances of survival.

Research shows that staying active significantly reduces the risk of complications and helps patients tolerate treatments such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery.

Cancer patients who do aerobic exercise, such as walking, running, swimming or gardening, report a better quality of life, less fatigue and less anxiety and depression, the study suggests.

Cancer patients should be given exercise classes on the NHS, according to experts (stock image)

A panel of cancer specialists from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) reviewed evidence from dozens of studies examining the benefits of exercise for cancer patients.

They concluded that doctors should “recommend aerobic and resistance exercise during active treatment to reduce the side effects of cancer treatment,” the ASCO conference in Chicago was told.

Patients undergoing surgery for lung cancer should be urged to start an exercise regimen, as it can cut their risk of complications in half and reduce hospital stays, she added.

“Incorporating exercise during active treatment has clear benefits for cancer patients,” says their new treatment guideline.

Research shows that staying active significantly reduces the risk of complications and helps patients tolerate treatments such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery (stock image)

Research shows that staying active significantly reduces the risk of complications and helps patients tolerate treatments such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery (stock image)

“Exercise interventions reduce fatigue, maintain cardiorespiratory fitness, physical function and strength, and in some populations improve quality of life and reduce anxiety and depression.”

dr. Scherezade Mama, of the University of Texas, lead author of a study examining the benefits of group classes in people who have completed cancer treatment, urged NHS bosses to make such classes available to cancer patients.

June Davis, a consultant with Macmillan Cancer Support, said that despite the benefits of exercise, diet and emotional support for cancer patients, such holistic care ‘is not routinely available and limited by funding challenges in the NHS’.

She added: “The government’s upcoming 10-year cancer plan is a critical opportunity to prioritize investment in pre-habilitation and rehabilitation programs to ensure people with cancer receive the support they need.”

Drug Combo Targets ‘Death Star’ Gene

Patients with advanced lung and ovarian cancer have received new hope thanks to a treatment that stops tumor growth.

A combination of two drugs can effectively target multiple versions of a “Death Star” cancer protein, in some cases, stopping the growth of tumors, according to research.

The KRAS gene, known as the Death Star to the Star Wars space station because the protein has an impenetrable, drug-resistant surface, is one of the most commonly mutated genes in cancer.

But researchers, led by the Institute of Cancer Research, London, and the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, identified a drug combination that targets the protein and controls tumor growth in some patients with highly advanced non-small cell lung cancer.

The drug combination — VS-6766 and everolimus — also produced responses in patients with advanced ovarian and thyroid cancer, the Chicago conference heard.

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