Lung Cancer Survivors Should Be Encouraged To Exercise

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Exercise and Lung Cancer Survivors

Lung cancer survivors who exercise regularly do better than those who neglect regular activity. According to a new survey, not enough lung cancer survivors meet exercise guidelines. Regular exercise eases depression, improves vitality, boosts immunity, and improves physical performance. The study shows that healthcare providers should encourage lung cancer survivors to exercise within recommended guidelines for age.

The survey results are published in the February issue of the journal Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention.

The findings come from Fox Chase Cancer Center researchers. Elliot Coups, Ph.D., associate member of Fox Chase Cancer Center's faculty and a participant in the Fox Chase Keystone Program in Cancer Risk and Prevention lead the study. Coups explains, "Of course, we're generally not talking marathons here, but smaller, everyday forms of activity like going for a brisk walk several times a week." Dr. Coups

The study was designed to help early stage lung cancer survivors improve quality of life and wellness. "With early detection and treatment, more people may live longer following surgery for early-stage lung cancer. For these individuals, the act of surviving cancer will follow them the rest of their days, and we are interested in understanding what we can do to promote their overall health and well-being," says Coups.


Physical activity was monitored in 175 early stage lung cancer survivors who had undergone lung surgery for non-small cell lung cancer in the previous six years. The average age was 68. All were cancer free. The lung cancer survivors tracked their physical activity six months preceding surgery, six months after, adding their current activity for comparison. Standardized questionnaires were provided to measure quality of life related to physical, emotional, and social well-being among the lung cancer survivors.

The survey results showed that one out of four lung cancer survivors met physical activity guidelines for age. Those who did not had increased symptoms of depression, more shortness of breath, and less vitality than lung cancer survivors who jogged or walked briskly on a regular basis.

Dr. Coups says, "Unfortunately, we see that most lung cancer survivors do not meet guidelines set for physical activity, especially in the six months following surgery."

The study authors concluded that healthcare practitioners should encourage early lung cancer survivors to exercise, a simple intervention that can improve all aspects of health and well-being for lung cancer survivors.

Source: - Regular Physical Activity Linked with Better Quality of Life in Early-Stage Lung Cancer Survivors, Survey Shows