A moderate exercise programme could improve the chances of success of chemotherapy treatment in oesophageal cancer patients, a recent study has found.

The research, published in the ‘British Journal of Sports Medicine’, looked at 40 cancer patients. Moderate exercise was associated with a decrease in the negative effects of chemotherapy, making it a possible option for more patients.

Also Read: 4 activities to bring exercise into your workday

Mr Andrew Davies, consultant in upper gastrointestinal surgery at Guy’s and St Thomas’, who led the study, said, “This is a small study, but a promising one, as it shows how a moderate exercise programme could help to improve the success of chemotherapy treatment. We want to confirm this effect in further studies, but conceivably this may benefit patients with other types of cancer and be a cost-effective way to improve the effectiveness of treatment,” according to a report by news agency ANI. 

The researchers studied the impact of ‘prehabilitation’ exercise before and during their chemotherapy sessions. The success of their treatment was then compared with patients who had not been part of the exercise program.

Also Read: Free weight or machines? Which one should I opt for? Read here

Prehabilitation exercise consists of a guided approach wherein people received regular training sessions. 

The results found that those who had taken part in the programme showed a better response to chemotherapy. A look at the tumour samples, immune markers, and CT scans revealed that the tumours in these patients had shrunk more than the other group, and were more likely to be ‘down-graded’ or less advanced. 

Also Read: Can’t hit the gym? Brisk walk your way to better health

One of the participants of the study, Alan Holman, 70, said, “Once I started the chemotherapy, it was tiring, but doing an hour with the trainer, you come out feeling better. It definitely helped to get me back to my pre-op weight, and got me through the chemotherapy. I’m not one for sitting in doors all day. When I was working, I had a very active job, and was walking a lot every day. Now I try to get to the gym once a week, and get out for a walk at least once every day,” according to the ANI report.