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Cancer patients not receiving exercise advice

Four out of five cancer patients are not receiving information on the importance of physical exercise, a new study reveals.

The survey by Macmillan Cancer Support revealed that of more than 1,000 sufferers questioned, only two in five actually undertook any physical exercise at all.

Around 80% claimed that their GP or clinical nurse specialist did not discuss exercise with them as part of their treatment and recovery, despite recommendations that 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical exercise a week can be beneficial to recovery and quality of life.

Exercise within the recommended levels has been shown to reduce side-effects of cancer treatment, including fatigue, muscle wasting, mobility problems, depression and anxiety.

Jane Maher, Chief Medical Officer of Macmillan Cancer Support and leading clinical oncologist, says:

“It's hard to encourage people to think about fitness during and after gruelling 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.”