HealthDay News — For patients with cancer, participation in prediagnosis and postdiagnosis recreational physical activity is associated with reduced mortality, according to a study published online Nov. 28 in Cancer Causes & Control.

Rikki A. Cannioto, PhD, from the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in Buffalo, New York, and colleagues classified 5807 patients with cancer into activity categories: habitually active, increased activity after diagnosis, decreased activity after diagnosis, and habitually inactive. They estimated the correlation between activity status and mortality.

The researchers found that habitually active patients experienced a significant reduction in all-cause mortality and in cancer-specific mortality (hazard ratios, 0.61 and 0.64, respectively) compared with patients who were habitually inactive. Compared with patients who remained inactive, previously inactive patients who began exercising after diagnosis experienced reductions in all-cause and cancer-specific mortality (hazard ratios, both 0.72). The greatest survival advantages were seen for patients engaging in three to four sessions/week, but significant advantages were also seen for one to two sessions per week compared with inactivity.

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“These data demonstrate the potential value of implementing exercise into the supportive care continuum of cancer patients and can inform targeted intervention trials designed to improve clinical outcomes among patients diagnosed with a variety of malignancies,” the authors write.

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