Nobody needs to look far to hear about the benefits of exercise. But what about situations in which exercise is the last thing on anyone's mind. For example, if you are coping with stage 4 lung cancer or stage 4 colon cancer?
It's a really important question. Living with stage 4 cancer often means you don't feel up to much exercising. And, though I hate to speak what many of us may be thinking, is it really worth talking about exercise when someone may have limited time left here on earth?
It appears the answer is yes.
Researchers looked at the benefits of home exercise among people living with stage 4 lung cancer and colon cancer. These patients had an initial visit to talk about exercise, and then began to exercise 4 or more days a week. They were contacted every 2 weeks by telephone, and during those calls, the amount of exercise each person did was advanced as deemed appropriate to their situation.
Benefits of exercise were clearly noted, and included:
- Increased mobility
- Improved fatigue
- Improved sleep quality
No significant difference was found in ability to perform daily activities, pain level, or quality of life between those in the exercise group and those in the control group who did not exercise.
I was pleased to hear the results of this study. As someone without stage 4 cancer it's difficult to encourage people living with advanced disease to exercise. And since exercise is often more enjoyable when done together, perhaps this study can encourage those of us without stage 4 disease to invite someone with stage 4 cancer to join us for a walk.
Photo: National Cancer Institute, Bill Branson (photographer)
Cheville, A. et al. A Home-Based Exercise Program to Improve Function, Fatigue, and Sleep Quality in Patients with Stage IV Lung and Colorectal Cancer: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management. 2012 Sep 24. (Epub ahead of print).