The benefits of physical activity are well known throughout the health care profession. Exercise has found its way into programs for patients with conditions such as heart disease, and it is becoming part of standard care. Studies have now begun to look at whether or not the success of programs which include exercise can also be realized with cancer patients. This form of care seems to have met with success.1,2,3,4
It now appears that rehabilitation has been defined as the process by which a person is restored to an optimal physiological, psychological, social and vocational status.2 In the case of cancer patients, rehabilitation can be a challenge due to the significant side-effects of cancer treatment: fatigue, weakness, impaired nutritional status, difficulty sleeping and nausea. The patient often sees a decrease in normal physical performance, and the resumption of regular activities after therapy is often delayed. New studies have shown that including exercise within the rehabilitation program reduces the above-mentioned side effects, and even shortens the length of stay in the hospital following treatment.1 In one study, patients who participated in an exercise program during high-dose chemotherapy were discharged, on average, sooner than patients in a control group.