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Brain tumour patients motivated to exercise

Written by: Staff

NEW YORK, June 17 (Reuters) A ''relatively high'' percentage of brain tumor patients are exercising -- before and after diagnosis and treatment -- at the recommended levels, a much higher percentage than patients with other forms of cancer, suggest the results of a survey of 106 brain tumour patients treated at the Brain Tumour Center at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.

According to Dr Lee W Jones and colleagues, prior to diagnosis, 42 per cent of patients reported engaging in at least 150 minutes of strenuous or moderate exercise each week.

Thirty-eight per cent said they exercised at this level while undergoing treatment while 41 per cent did so after the completion of treatment. ''Given the aggressive nature of (treatment) in any cancer population, decreases in exercise behavior during this time are not surprising,'' note the authors in the medical journal Cancer.

Brain tumour patients appear to represent a ''proactive'' group when it comes to exercise, Jones and colleagues report. It's been estimated, for example, that only five to 16 per cent of patients with other cancers, such as breast cancer and colon cancer, exercise at the recommended levels during treatment, and only 20 to 31 per cent exercise during off-treatment periods.

The relatively young age of brain tumour patients may have something to do with their high levels of exercise, the authors note. The average age of the patients in the current survey was 44 years.

''The take home message,'' Jones said, ''is that...brain tumour patients appear capable and motivated to engage in exercise during their cancer treatment.'' ''This study provides important preliminary data for future studies to examine the potential clinical value of exercise training interventions for...brain cancer patients,'' Jones added.

''Exercise may represent a supportive intervention that may complement existing...therapies and address a multitude of therapy-induced debilitating side effects in patients with brain tumors,'' the authors note in their report.


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