Despite Evidence that It Benefits Patients with Cancer, Study Finds Most Oncologists Don’t Discuss Exercise with Patients

It is well documented that physical activity (PA) benefits patients with cancer, both during and after treatment. Exercise helps patients combat both physical and psychological impacts of cancer treatment, giving them a sense of well-being, control, stress reduction, and empowerment. However, exactly what constitutes an appropriate PA recommendation within a multimodal cancer treatment plan is unclear.

To uncover barriers to PA recommendations in patients with cancer, researchers from Gundersen Health System in Wisconsin facilitated a focus group study. The researchers, led by Agnes Smaradottir, MD, Medical Oncologist, found that 95% of patients surveyed felt they benefited from exercise during treatment, but only three of the 20 patients recalled being instructed to exercise. Moreover, while all practitioners noted that exercise benefits patients, though not all patients, only one of the nine surveyed documented discussion of exercise in patient charts.

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