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Brain tumor patients seem capable and motivated to exercise
by: Megan Rauscher
A "relatively high" percentage of brain tumor patients are exercising at the recommended levels across the cancer trajectory (i.e., before diagnosis, during adjuvant therapy and after therapy), suggest results of a survey of 106 brain tumor patients treated at the Brain Tumor Center at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.
According to Dr. Lee W. Jones and colleagues, prior to diagnosis, 42% of patients reported engaging in at least 150 minutes of strenuous or moderate exercise each week.
Thirty-eight percent said they exercised at this level while undergoing adjuvant therapy while 41% did so after the completion of treatment. "Given the aggressive nature of adjuvant therapy in any cancer population, decreases in exercise behavior during this time are not surprising," note the authors in the May 15th issue of Cancer.
Brain tumor patients appear to represent a "proactive" group when it comes to exercise, Dr. Jones and colleagues write. It's been estimated, for example, that only 5% to 16% of patients with other cancers such as multiple myeloma, breast cancer, colorectal cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma and endometrial cancer exercise at the recommended levels during treatment and only 20% to 31% do so during off-treatment periods.
The relatively young age of brain tumor patients may have something to do with their high levels of exercise, the authors note. The mean age of the patients in the current survey was 44 years.
"The take home message," Dr. Jones said, "is that primary brain tumor patients appear capable and motivated to engage in exercise during their cancer treatment."
"This study provides important preliminary data for future studies to examine the potential clinical value of exercise training interventions for primary brain cancer patients," Dr. Jones added.
"Exercise may represent a supportive intervention that may complement existing neuro-oncologic therapies and address a multitude of therapy-induced debilitating side effects in patients with brain tumors," the authors note in their report.
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