New Delhi: Patients with cancer should receive a tailored exercise prescription to protect their heart, reports a paper published today in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, a journal of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).
“Cancer patients are often less active than adults without cancer,” said author Dr Flavio D’Ascenzi, University of Siena, Italy. “However, exercise is essential for patients diagnosed with cancer who are under treatment, irrespective of the type of treatment.”
“Endurance training is more effective for improving cardiovascular performance and reducing inflammation, but resistance training may be a better starting point for frail cancer patients,” he continued. Other types of exercise, such as inspiratory muscle training, are safe and effective, particularly in those with thoracic cancer; therefore, the specific exercise should be chosen based on individual characteristics. Cardiovascular diseases are common side effects in patients with cancer. This is the result of cardiotoxicity, whereby cancer treatment impairs heart function and structure, or accelerated development of cardiovascular disease, especially when risk factors such as high blood pressure are present. Furthermore, cardiovascular diseases and cancer often share the same risk factors. Therefore, cancer patients are advised to eat healthily, quit smoking, control their weight, and exercise.
Exercise should start as soon as possible, even before starting treatment such as chemotherapy. A multidisciplinary team should be involved in formulating an exercise prescription, including oncologists, cardiologists, physical therapists, nurses, nutritionists, and psychologists.