The best way to use these outstanding data is to encourage your patients to exercise and stay active—not as a substitute for standard therapy but as an adjunct.— Manish A. Shah, MD
Manish A. Shah, MD, Director of Gastrointestinal Oncology at NewYorkPresbyterian and Weill Cornell Medicine, commented that “the benefit seen in patients who regularly exercise is equal to or better than the benefit seen with some chemotherapy drugs,” although he cautioned that exercise in this study was not evaluated in a randomized trial the way that drugs are tested. “The point to remember is that exercise helps in many ways.”
The mechanism underlying this benefit is unclear, “but it is almost certainly related to multiple factors,” Dr. Shah said. “Patients who routinely exercise are probably healthier. They are likely to have fewer cardiovascular health issues, better blood sugar control, and may be less likely to develop blood clots. Their bodies may be more able to fight the cancer. Also, healthier people can likely tolerate more chemotherapy. All these factors play a role in subtle ways toward a patient’s survival,” he noted.
Dr. Shah shared some advice with clinicians. “The best way to use these outstanding data is to encourage your patients to exercise and stay active—not as a substitute for standard therapy but as an adjunct,” he said. ■
Disclosure: Dr. Shah reported no potential conflicts of interest.