Cancer sufferers 'should not avoid exercise'

17 July 2012

The myth that cancer patients should only rest and not be active needs to be debunked so that patients do not compromise their health further, it has been claimed.

According to Macmillan Cancer Support, only a fifth of patients who have undergone cancer treatment are told of the benefits that exercise can have on their recovery, with the others mainly believing that they should get as much rest as possible.

A YouGov poll commissioned by Macmillan found that 37 per cent of cancer patients said they were not physically active and Jane Maher, chief medical officer for the charity, acknowledged that it can be difficult to encourage people to think about fitness during and after cancer treatment.

"It's easier to tell people to rest. But increasingly, many patients will need our help to bust the myth that resting up is always the right thing to do, so they do not miss out on the 'wonder drug' of exercise, which can make all the difference to recovery," she added.

Ciaran Devane, chief executive of Macmillan, said it is clear that the message is still not being passed on to cancer patients about just how important it is for them to keep active, and urged medical professionals to do exactly this.

Posted by Philip Briggs

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