Exercise can help reduce cancer-related fatigue

Clinical question: 
Is exercise effective for the management of cancer-related fatigue in adults?
Bottom line: 
In adults, physical exercise can help to reduce fatigue both during and after treatment for cancer. However, the evidence is not sufficient to demonstrate the best type or intensity of exercise for reducing the symptoms of fatigue. Therefore, exercise should be considered as one component of the management strategy for fatigue that may include a range of other interventions and education.
The review incorporates a diverse range of studies with small numbers in several studies. There is also a considerable degree of clinical heterogeneity between studies in terms of adjuvant therapy, mode and intensity of exercise, and stage and type of cancer.
Fatigue is now recognised as a side effect of cancer and its treatment, affecting 70–100% of cancer patients.¹ In the past, people with cancer were encouraged to rest if they felt fatigued, but physical exercise might be a more appropriate response. Exercise has been demonstrated to be effective in reducing fatigue and improving the exercise tolerance of healthy individuals and individuals with chronic diseases.² 1. Mock V. Cancer 2001;92:1699-1707. 2. Mock V et al. Psychooncology 2005;14:464-477.
Review CD#: 
July, 2008
Authored by: 
Brian R McAvoy