Today Longevity Exercise Physiology Drummoyne, EdgecliffMarrickvilleBella VistaRandwickPymble and Balmain discuss targeted exercise to aid chemotherapy treatment and its success in improving cancer diagnosis.

What is targeted exercise?

Specifically tailored and targeted exercise prescription for individuals and their own form of cancer and treatment (Hwang, Yu, Shih, Yang & Wu, 2012). Targeted exercise is designed to be completed on the same day as cancer treatment is given to the patient (Hwang, Yu, Shih, Yang & Wu, 2012).

What is Chemotherapy?

Chemotherapy is a systemic cancer treatment drug that uses the blood stream as its form of transportation to sites of concern (Rose & Milowsky, 2016). Being as this form of drug is systemic, chemotherapy does not have the ability to depict cancerous and non-cancerous cells; resulting in damage to healthy and fast-growing tissues (Peer et al., 2020). For example, bone marrow, new blood cells and connective tissue.

Side effects may vary between individuals, as physiological responses to chemotherapy varies between person to person, strength of chemotherapy drug and frequency of treatment (Ebede, Jang & Escalante, 2017). Majority of side effects experienced are short term, although some may be more permanent. Short term effects seemingly dissipate as treatment tapers off and the health of cells improve (Ebede, Jang & Escalante, 2017).

Short term side effects of chemotherapy (Ebede, Jang & Escalante, 2017):

  • Nausea & vomiting
  • Nerve damage
  • Muscle & joint pain
  • Cancer fatigue
  • Cognitive changes

Long term side effects of chemotherapy (Ebede, Jang & Escalante, 2017):

  • Lung damage
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Bone loss
  • Cancer fatigue
  • Cognitive changes

Exercise and Cancer

Exercise can stabilise hormones that accelerate progression of cancer

Exercise has been shown to improve cancer related symptoms and boost vitality in many cancer patients, with the inclusion of other health benefits that coincide with cancer treatment (Mustian et al., 2016). These exercise and health benefits related to can include (Ashcraft, Warner, Jones & Dewhirst, 2019):

  • Exercise strengthens immunity to fight against cancer cells and the development of cancer cells
  • Exercise can stabilise hormones that accelerate progression of cancer
  • Exercise may neutralise blood vessels around the tumour

More specifically, particularly to chemotherapy treatment; exercise improves blood circulation – resulting to a greater likelihood of the chemotherapy drug reaching the tumour due to the need of blood flow for cancer progression (Ashcraft, Warner, Jones & Dewhirst, 2019). Additionally, exercise enhances the bodies’ ability to tolerate the strenuous metabolic stress provoked by the toxicity of chemotherapy by maintaining or increasing lean muscle tissue; which is an indicative factor in the cessation of cancer treatment (Ashcraft, Warner, Jones & Dewhirst, 2019). A greater duration an individual is able to tolerate cancer treatment, an increased likelihood of survival.

Contact Longevity Personal Training and Exercise Physiology Edgecliff, Pymble, Marrickville, Randwick, Drummoyne, Balmain, Bella Vista, Neutral Bay on 1300 964 002 to book in for a free 15-minute consult.


Ashcraft, K., Warner, A., Jones, L., & Dewhirst, M. (2019). Exercise as Adjunct Therapy in Cancer. Seminars In Radiation Oncology29(1), 16-24.

Ebede, C., Jang, Y., & Escalante, C. (2017). Cancer-Related Fatigue in Cancer Survivorship. Medical Clinics Of North America101(6), 1085-1097.

Hwang, C., Yu, C., Shih, J., Yang, P., & Wu, Y. (2012). Effects of exercise training on exercise capacity in patients with non-small cell lung cancer receiving targeted therapy. Supportive Care In Cancer20(12), 3169-3177.

Mustian, K., Cole, C., Lin, P., Asare, M., Fung, C., & Janelsins, M. et al. (2016). Exercise Recommendations for the Management of Symptoms Clusters Resulting From Cancer and Cancer Treatments. Seminars In Oncology Nursing32(4), 383-393.

Peer, D., Karp, J., Hong, S., Farokhzad, O., Margalit, R., & Langer, R. (2020). Nanocarriers as an emerging platform for cancer therapy. Nature Nanotechnology2(12), 751-760.

Rose, T., & Milowsky, M. (2016). Improving Systemic Chemotherapy for Bladder Cancer. Current Oncology Reports18(5).

Written by Kale Barton – Bissaker