Increasing evidence confirms that exercise during cancer treatment has multiple benefits, including fewer side effects, less fatigue and better quality of life—and it may lower the risk of recurrence and cancer-related death.

A recent meta-analysis of 34 clinical trials with more than 4,300 patients by the POLARIS consortium, presented at the 2018 Cancer Survivorship Symposium, showed that exercise significantly reduced fatigue, regardless of the type and stage of cancer.

In May, the Clinical Oncology Society of Australia (COSA) issued a position statement recommending that exercise be considered an important part of cancer care. The experts advised getting at least 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise—such as walking, biking or swimming—and two or three sessions of resistance exercise each week.

“Exercise is the best medicine someone with cancer can take in addition to their standard cancer treatments,” says Prue Cormie of Australian Catholic University, chair of COSA’s Exercise and Cancer Group. “If the effects of exercise could be encapsulated in a pill, it would be prescribed to every cancer patient worldwide and viewed as a major breakthrough in cancer treatment.”

Click here for tips on keeping fit during treatment.