This important study demonstrated that for patients with early stage breast cancer there was a direct relationship between lower physical fitness before commencing chemotherapy and significantly lower odds of achieving optimal relative dose intensity. In other words, lower fitness meant less chemotherapy tolerance, more side effects and greater reduction in dosage and so less effectiveness of treatment.
Interestingly, if low fitness patients commenced and continued an exercise program throughout their chemotherapy treatment this relationship was almost completely mitigated but it became more pronounced in patients who received usual care i.e. no exercise program.
Further evidence that patients with cancer should be supported to increase their physical fitness before commencing chemotherapy and then be prescribed exercise medicine as therapy throughout their chemotherapy treatment.
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