According to recent published reports, over 12 million new cases of cancer were estimated worldwide for 2007. Estimates from 2008 predict that cancer will account for 22.8% of all deaths in the US. Another report stated 50% to 75% of cancer deaths in the US are related to smoking, poor dietary choices, and physical inactivity. A 2004 report indicated obesity and/or a sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of developing several types of cancer. Conversely, several large-scale cohort studies point to the positive relationship between physical activity and a reduction in cancer risk. In addition, research over the last few years has clearly shown cardiorespiratory benefits, increases in quality of life (QOL), and increases in physical functioning for cancer survivors who engage in exercise programs. Thus, the purpose of this review is to highlight three areas related to cancer and physical activity. First, information concerning the prevention of cancer through physical activity is addressed. Second, recent studies identifying changes in volume of oxygen uptake (VO(2)) and/or cardiorespiratory functioning involving exercise with cancer survivors is presented. Third, studies identifying changes in cancer survivors' physical functional capacity and QOL are presented. Finally, a summary of the review is offered.
Keywords: cancer; cardiorespiratory; exercise; physical activity; volume of oxygen (VO2).