A study found that regular exercise reduces the reappearance of cancer by 40%. 1 in 2 Australians suffer from cancer by age 75, so exercise is important to build into our daily routines. Exercise is also important in preventing cancer – exercise mitigates the cancer risks of smoking or obesity, and specifically can reduce the incidence of breast, liver and colon cancer.

Exercise also reduces the side effects of cancer treatment (such as mental distress, fatigue and physical decline), reduces anxiety or depression, improves energy, sleep quality and quality of life, and reduces overall death rates in cancer patients.

Those with cancer that exercise, versus those that don’t, have lower medial expenses and less time away from work.

Exercising if you have cancer should involve a careful assessment by an exercise physiologist upon commencement, and include both aerobic and resistance components.

Recommended exercise differs across individuals, but at least 30 minutes most days of the week is applicable. Think of exercise as another prescription that your doctor prescribes.

For those with cancer, be careful of fatigue, swelling of limbs (called lymphoedema), depressed immunity, anaemia, skin irritation, poor balance and bone pain.

Speak to your GP or oncologist about the right level and type of exercise for you.


  • https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32239145/
  • https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-11-11/study-shows-exercise-helps-cancer-treatments/12867650
  • https://www.cancer.org.au/blog/every-cancer-patient-should-be-prescribed-exercise-medicine
  • https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/exercise-as-part-of-cancer-treatment-2018061314035
  • https://www.theguardian.com/society/2021/feb/14/exercise-can-help-prevent-cancers-new-research-finds