The effects of cancer and cancer treatment are multifactorial but mirror many of the components of aging, but in a much shorter time leading to reductions in functional capacity. Exercise has been evaluated in the literature and has shown excellent support for mitigating disease before, during, and after diagnosis and treatment for the disease.
Exercise improves functional outcomes by altering the tumor microenvironment such that there are positive improvements in metabolism (less anaerobic metabolism), immune function, and vascular function. Thus, a varied exercise input can have multiple positive effects on disease state and survivorship.
It is important to note that individuals with cancer are susceptible to cancer-related fatigue from various sources including direct effects of cancer and tumor burden, treatment side effects, comorbid medical conditions, and psychosocial factors. Exercise has been shown to mitigate these effects, but a real-time alteration in exercise prescription may be needed as excessive fatigue may impair exercise abilities.