Extensive clinical research over the last three decades has established the safety of appropriate exercise for people with cancer both during and after treatment.
To-date, the majority of exercise trials focused on intensive anti-cancer therapy have been conducted on people receiving chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Very few studies however were focused on those patients receiving immunotherapy.
With recent advances, there is an increasing number of patients being prescribed immunotherapy. The side effects and symptom-burden of these treatments have an impact on both patient quality of life and prescription of other medications such as steroids. Fatigue is one of the more dominant immunotherapy and cancer related symptoms experienced by patients receiving this type of therapy. Other common issues include myalgia, arthralgia and shortness of breath.
Exercise has been found to be beneficial in the management of cancer related fatigue and breathlessness in lung cancer patients. Studies suggest it is beneficial to reduce pain related to aromatase inhibitor related arthralgia and inflammatory arthritis. Consequently, exercise is increasingly being used as a therapeutic intervention to improve cancer-related fatigue and cancer- and inflammation-related arthralgia.
Exercise therapy that is individualised to a patient’s circumstances, has potential to benefit those receiving immunotherapy. Feasibility studies are needed.