Although 1 study found a correlation between vigorous exercise and improved cancer survival, it was unclear which patients would reap the greatest benefits from taking up a more active lifestyle. Researchers analyzed the associations between gynecologic cancer survivors’ adherence to the physical activity recommendations of the American Cancer Society (ACS), and they reported psychological and social outcomes to determine if these associations varied by treatment type. Patients with gynecologic cancer who spoke English were recruited from a university-affiliated oncology clinic. At the beginning of the study, participants filled out a battery of surveys assessing their emotional and mental health, as well as their quality of life (QoL) and level of physical activity. They tested for interactions between physical activity and each effect modifier (a receipt of chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and/or minimally invasive surgery), considering age, pain, body mass index, primary cancer diagnosis, cancer stage, time since diagnosis, and annual household income. About 213 out of 362 participants (59%) were within the acceptable range for physical activity as established by the American College of Sports Medicine. They found evidence of interactions between physical activity and chemotherapy used for depression, anxiety, and quality of life (QoL) scores, with those who had undergone chemotherapy showing a stronger link between physical activity and these psychosocial outcomes than those who had not. They did not find any associations between exercise and either radiation therapy or a shorter recovery time after surgery for any of the outcomes. Patients who have endured chemotherapy for gynecologic cancer and have established positive relationships between their mental health and physical activity may benefit most from a structured exercise program.

Source:  sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0090825822002608