The aim of the guide “Physical Activity and Cancer: Recommendations for Prevention and Control” is to guide the exercise of cancer patients to prevent and cure exercise. The document, produced by the SBOC (Brazilian Society of Clinical Oncology) with the support of the SBAFS (Brazilian Society of Physical Activity and Health) and the Inca (National Cancer Institute), is free and can be viewed on the SBOC website.
| Photo: iStock
The production involved 16 researchers from institutions across Brazil. The guide consists of two parts: exercising physically to prevent and reduce the risk of mortality in people who already have the disease and are being treated after diagnosis – so-called cancer survivors. The study used WHO (World Health Organization) parameters that show 150 minutes of moderate difficulty or 75 minutes of intense activity per week.
With this information in his hands, he evaluated the benefits of physical activity for practitioners using certain metrics and methods and arrived at evidence. “We found that exercising reduces the risk of developing breast and colon cancer and possibly lung cancer; the risk reduction can be as high as 28%, ”said Rafael Deminice, coordinator of the guide, professor at the Department of Physical Education at UEL (Universidade Estadual de Londrina).
For those with pre-existing disease, moderate or intense physical activity reduces the risk of general and specific mortality from breast, colorectal cancer, and specific mortality from prostate cancer. In these patients, the risk of mortality can be reduced by up to 50%.
Deminice explains that the guide aims to bring the Brazilian population and health professionals closer to the latest discoveries in exercise and cancer. According to him, although there are numerous studies in the world that show the importance of physical activity for cancer patients, there is still a culture in Brazil where these patients are treated at rest. “Contrary to the recommendation that many patients get to ‘rest’, the document guides them to maintain and even increase physical activity. We want to break this paradigm.”
Rafael Deminice, UEL Professor and Guide Coordinator
| Photo: Disclosure – UEL Agency
How, then, can we try to reverse this culture of treatment for cancer patients? The team developed a four-step guide and a golden rule for healthcare professionals treating these patients. The first step is to encourage people with or without a diagnosis to engage in physical activity. the other is the maxim that “every movement is important.” “We have to remove physical training from stigma. Walking, going up and down stairs, moving around everyday, etc., it all matters, it’s not just physical training in the gym, for example.”
The third step is to say that exercise for cancer patients is tolerable and safe. The fourth step is to consider the patient’s availability and previous experience when directing physical activity.
The golden rule for professionals is to promote physical activity as a habit that is included in the routines of every patient. Research has been done on the subject, but healthcare professionals are still unfamiliar with these maxima. “In Brazil, there is a big gap between research and practice because there are very few health professionals here who guide these practices.”
RUNNING AGAINST CANCER
In the second half of this year, Deminice will also implement the Running against Cancer expansion project as coordinator. The project, sponsored by Copel through the Sports Incentive Act (No. 11,438/06), brings together cancer patients on the Cefe Athletic Track (Center for Physical Education and Sports) for walking and running. The project is in the fundraising and materials procurement phase and will serve 60 people who have already been diagnosed and are being treated for some type of cancer. (According to UEL)
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