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'Just do it!' not good enough for cancer patients, UR researchers say
Date:5/30/2012

Exercise generally helps the nation's 12 million cancer survivors, but researchers are still working toward being able to prove, with scientific certainty, that prescriptions for daily yoga or 20 minutes of walking will likely extend a patient's survival.

Understanding specifically how exercise benefits subpopulations of cancer patients is among the big topics at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) 2012 annual meeting in Chicago, June 1-5, 2012. Several scientists from the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center at the University of Rochester Medical Center are part of the ASCO discussion, including Lisa K. Sprod, Ph.D., a junior faculty member who is being recognized with an ASCO Merit Award.

"In 15 years we've gone from being afraid to recommend exercise to people with cancer, to having enough data that shows, by and large, it is safe and effective, particularly for relief of treatment side effects," said Karen Mustian, Ph.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of Radiation Oncology at URMC and an exercise psychologist specializing in cancer. "But when a patient walks in the door, he or she wants to know how to tailor exercise to their own situation. Should I bike, walk, or lift weights? Is there anything I should avoid? Can certain exercises lower my fatigue? And the scientific community has not settled into a place where we've developed explicit exercise prescriptions, or can effectively narrow the choices for patients."

Several URMC suggest that knowing how to develop and apply specific exercise programs (dose and timing to achieve a certain outcome) is a realistic goal.

Mustian and Sprod investigated physical activity among older people, a group they describe as often overlooked and underestimated in terms of their ability to live with cancer. On June 2 at ASCO they will present two studies in a session titled, Staying Bold While Old:

Mustian conducted a phase II clinical trial to discover whether six weeks of a home
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Contact: Leslie Orr
Leslie_Orr@urmc.rochester.edu
University of Rochester Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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