Exercise can enhance motivation to change lifestyle behaviors, improve aerobic fitness, improve physical function, control fatigue, and enhance quality of life. Studies have demonstrated the benefits to be gained from physical exercise, highlighting the importance of popularizing the concept of physical exercise for individuals and making professional exercise treatment programs available to cancer patients. However, the correlation between physical exercise and carcinogenesis is easily overlooked, and exercise interventions are not routinely provided to cancer patients, especially those with advanced cancer. In this article, we present a literature review on the effects of exercise on cancer development and progression and give recent evidence for the type of exercise best suited for different types of cancer and in different disease stages. Moreover, the molecular mechanisms about regulating metabolism and systemic immune function in cancer are summarized and discussed. In conclusion, physical exercise should be considered as an important intervention for preventing and treating cancer and its complications.Copyright © 2020. Production and hosting by Elsevier B.V.