In October 2018 researchers from Germany published the results of their study to assess the effect of a home-based exercise programme on individuals with advanced stage gastrointestinal cancer. 44 individuals undertook either 150 minutes of moderate walking per week or were part of a control group who undertook no exercise. Speed of walking, balance, lower extremity muscle strength, postural sway, chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy, nutritional state and lean body mass were assessed prior to chemotherapy, after two chemotherapy cycles and after 12 weeks. Results showed that the walking appeared to improve balance, lower extremity muscle strength, postural sway and body composition. However, no difference between the two groups was seen with respect to speed of walking, peripheral neuropathy or nutritional state. The researchers concluded that undertaking walking during chemotherapy may contribute to the individuals being able to maintain a greater degree of independence and having a better treatment tolerance which in turn would improve the individual’s quality of life.
Stuecher K et al. Exercise improves functional capacity and lean body mass in patients with gastrointestinal cancer during chemotherapy: a single-blind RCT. Support Care Cancer. 2018 Oct 4. [Epub ahead of print]