Multiple organizations around the world have issued evidence-based exercise guidance for patients with cancer and cancer survivors. Recently, the American College of Sports Medicine has updated its exercise guidance for cancer prevention as well as for the prevention and treatment of a variety of cancer health-related outcomes (eg, fatigue, anxiety, depression, function, and quality of life). Despite these guidelines, the majority of people living with and beyond cancer are not regularly physically active. Among the reasons for this is a lack of clarity on the part of those who work in oncology clinical settings of their role in assessing, advising, and referring patients to exercise. The authors propose using the American College of Sports Medicine's Exercise Is Medicine initiative to address this practice gap. The simple proposal is for clinicians to assess, advise, and refer patients to either home-based or community-based exercise or for further evaluation and intervention in outpatient rehabilitation. To do this will require care coordination with appropriate professionals as well as change in the behaviors of clinicians, patients, and those who deliver the rehabilitation and exercise programming. Behavior change is one of many challenges to enacting the proposed practice changes. Other implementation challenges include capacity for triage and referral, the need for a program registry, costs and compensation, and workforce development. In conclusion, there is a call to action for key stakeholders to create the infrastructure and cultural adaptations needed so that all people living with and beyond cancer can be as active as is possible for them.
Keywords: exercise; physical medicine and rehabilitation; physical therapy; supportive care.
© 2019 American Cancer Society.