INDIANAPOLIS – New exercise guidelines are being developed that will give cancer survivors a comprehensive plan on how to safely start or maintain a physical activity program – and, in turn, enjoy a higher quality of life after battling the disease.
The guidelines are being spearheaded by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), the organizer of the two-day scientific conference. Siteman Cancer Center at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis is hosting the session. Leading experts in cancer and exercise from around the world will present scientific evidence on exercise considerations, risks and effects, and will produce a roundtable consensus statement within the next year.
“This consensus statement will be the most comprehensive exercise plan for cancer survivors ever developed,” said Kathryn Schmitz, Ph.D., FACSM, one of the lead presenters at the conference. “Often, cancer survivors are afraid to exercise or aren’t sure of the best ways to get active; the evidence-based paper we’re producing will give them the right information and the right tools they need.”
Physicians and health and fitness professionals will also be able to disseminate the information to their clients and patients, enabling them to give science-based advice to the cancer survivor population. In 2008, ACSM launched a specialty health and fitness certification specifically for trainers and fitness professionals working with cancer patients and survivors.
With more than 10 million cancer survivors currently living in the United States, Schmitz, a researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, says the new exercise guidelines will come at the perfect time. According to a study from Arizona State University, fewer than 21 percent of doctors tell their cancer-survivor patients about exercise, for lack of knowing how to guide them through a physical activity program.
“More than a million new cases of cancer are diagnosed each year – and more than two-thirds of these patients will become survivors,” Schmitz said. “They need guidance, largely through knowledgeable practitioners, on how to be active during remissions. Cancer survivorship should be about strength, fitness and prevention of recurrence.”
In addition to Siteman Cancer Center, the roundtable conference is supported by HUR USA.
The American College of Sports Medicine is the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world. More than 35,000 international, national, and regional members and certified professionals are dedicated to advancing and integrating scientific research to provide educational and practical applications of exercise science and sports medicine.