Macmillan Cancer Support, UK's leading charity foundation launched its "Move More' campaign that urges cancer survivors to undertake recommended levels of physical activities to sustain themselves. A new study released by the charity notes that a little physical activity not only improves the chances of recovery for cancer patients but can also prevent a relapse in most cases.
The charity has designed resources to be made available on their Website. The resources aim to encourage the 'Move More' agenda, whereby cancer patients would learn to chart out a physical routine based on an activity diary, a getting started guide, ten top tips, National Garden Society physical activity and gardening leaflet with garden seeds and other activities.
By reaching out through online interactions, the charity hopes to see cancer patients and survivors on the move and feeling better, this month of August.
The campaign is based on a new research that states that, "After treatment, all cancer patients can reduce their risk of getting side effects of cancer and its treatment by doing recommended levels of physical activity. These include fatigue, depression, osteoporosis and heart disease."
The new research is in contrast to earlier traditional wisdom which advised cancer survivors to restrict any form of physical activity.
Jane Maher, Chief Medical Officer of Macmillan Cancer Support and leading clinical oncologist said, "The advice that I would have previously have given to one of my patients would have been to 'take it easy'. This has now changed significantly because of the recognition that if physical exercise were a drug, it would be hitting the headlines. There really needs to be a cultural change, so that health professionals see physical activity as an integral part of cancer after care, not just an optional add-on."
The new report states that breast cancer patients' risk of recurrence and of dying from the disease can be reduced by up 40 percent by doing recommended levels of physical activity. Risks of patients with bowel cancer suffering a relapse or dying from the disease could be reduced by fifty percent by doing significant amounts of physical activities. Prostate cancer patients' risk of dying from the disease can be reduced by up to 30 percent by doing recommended levels of physical activity.
The charity, however said that despite the new evidence, many health carers might not be aware of the benefits of exercise in cancer patients and have been unable to reach out effectively on this.
Ciaran Devane, Chief Executive, Macmillan Cancer Support, said, "Move More", shows how important physical activity is to recovery from cancer, yet "very little attention to its benefits is given by health professionals or by those commissioning health services". He suggested that health care professionals should prescribe and promote adequate exercises amongst cancer patients and survivors.
The report reviewed 60 studies and surveyed 400 health professionals who work closely with cancer patients and found that lack of physical activities might be putting as many as 1.6 million cancer survivors in the UK at greater risk of long terms health problems with some at greater risks of recurrence.
The other observation from the report states that women with breast cancer who exercise for 150 minutes a week at the normal intensity have over 40 percent less risk of dying and the disease recurring, when compared to women who were active for less than an hour a week.
The Macmillian report falls in line with the Department of Health's (DoH) guideline which advices 150 minutes of moderate activity a week for most cancer survivors.
However, Devane said, "But worryingly only around 40 percent GPs and oncology nurses know the recommendation and over half did not speak to patients about the benefits of taking exercise. It is essential that physical activity services are available and 'prescribed' to all patients who would be shocked if they knew how much of a benefit physical activity could have on their recovery and long-term health."
"It doesn't need to be anything too strenuous, doing the gardening, going for a brisk walk or a swim all count, he added."