Exercise helps people with bone cancer, says national charity Macmillan

There is a growing evidence to show that exercise improves outcomes for people with cancer of the bone and other parts of the body, says guidance from Macmillan Cancer Support.


Individual expectations about staying active can be addressed in a holistic needs assessment, says the guidance

In one example, it says that a group of people in palliative care took part in 50 minutes of group exercise twice a week for six weeks. It resulted in an improvement in physical fatigue.

Another study found that palliative care patients in a group exercise programme reported relief from mental stress and anxiety.

People with advanced-stage cancer who walked at least 30 minutes each day were found to have an improved quality of life compared to those who exercised less.

The guidance, endorsed by the CSP and the Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Oncology and Palliative Care, makes recommendations for all health professionals treating metastatic bone cancer.

People with metastatic bone cancer should be informed about the benefits of physical activity, it says. They should also receive training on how to self-monitor for signs and symptoms that should be brought to the attention of their health team.

Where appropriate, people with metastatic bone cancer should aim to achieve at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity, such as cycling or walking, every week. An alternative would be 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity.

They should complete strength exercises too. These should be done on two or more days each week and work all the major muscle groups in the body.

But the guidelines should be modified to avoid metastatic sites or pathologic fracture and in accordance with what is realistic for each person.

Catherine Neck, from the Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Oncology and Palliative Care, said: ‘There’s a fear about exercising for people with metastatic bone cancer.

‘This guidance will help health professionals to enable people to stay active, but in a safe way. This will improve function, mean a better quality of life and help people to stay well for longer.’

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