University of São Paulo: New guide recommends physical activity for cancer patients

USP was part of the team that prepared the first Brazilian Oncological Guide , which provides recommendations for cancer prevention and control and reduction of mortality through regular physical activity. Produced by researchers from renowned institutions linked to the fight against cancer, the document breaks the paradigm of recent decades that people diagnosed with the disease should rest and avoid physical exertion. There is scientific evidence that staying active reduces the risk of breast, colon, rectum, uterus, prostate and lung cancer. Furthermore, physical activity has a protective effect after the diagnosis of cancer, contributing to reduce mortality. The guide was launched on April 6th, when the World Physical Activity Day is celebrated.

According to the coordinator of the work, Rafael Deminice, exercise physiology researcher and associate professor at the State University of Londrina (UEL), “it is already a consensus in the scientific literature that all cancer survivors should be encouraged to remain physically active during their treatment. and for life”, he tells the Jornal da USP.

The guide was the product of extensive work by researchers from several institutions: the Brazilian Society of Physical Activity and Health (SBAFS), the Brazilian Society of Clinical Oncology (SBOC), the National Cancer Institute (INCA), the School of Physical Education and Sport at (EEFE) at USP and at the State University of Londrina (UEL). Aimed at health professionals, the material consists of a survey and evaluation of the main international guides for recommending physical activity for cancer patients and scientific productions with systematic review, meta-analysis and randomized clinical trial.

As a result of these analyses, it was possible to observe that, if the person is physically active, even if it is only during leisure time, the risk of developing breast, cervical, rectal, prostate, and lung cancers decreases considerably, he reports. Professor Patrícia Chakur Brum, professor in exercise physiology at EEFE, one of the researchers invited to participate in the production of the guide. “And if the person has already been diagnosed with cancer, physical activity has a protective effect on mortality from the disease.” A study published in the United States in 2018 of more than 1,000 breast, prostate and colorectal cancer survivors showed that 8.1% of survivors were inactive and 34.1% did not practice recommended levels of physical activity, reports the guide.

Women breast cancer survivors
At USP, Patrícia Brum develops basic and clinical research in which she seeks to understand the mechanisms by which physical exercise becomes beneficial to health, making it indispensable in the prevention and complementary treatment of cancer. As a university extension activity associated with research, since 2017, it has followed a group of women who have survived breast cancer who are rowing on the USP Olympic Raia, the Remama program, and whose members have felt over time an improvement in their physical and physical health parameters. mental for staying active.


The research was carried out with women in remission from breast cancer, who practice rowing at USP’s Olympic Raia and are part of a project that seeks to offer quality of life to patients who underwent treatment for the disease at the Cancer Institute of the State of São Paulo (ICESP)

After treatment and rehabilitation, patients are allowed to row following the protocol that physical exercise would reduce the recurrence of the disease and bring more quality of life to them, who have already undergone breast cancer treatment. Still, the choice of canoeing for these women follows a movement that exercise with the upper limbs can and should be performed, as it even helps in the treatment and control of lymphedema and not the opposite, as previously thought, reports the researcher.

From this work, carried out in partnership with the Cancer Institute of the State of São Paulo (ICESP) and the Lucy Montoro Network, where the patients came from, together with CEPEUSP and EEFE, several scientific articles were published, including one related to inactivity Physical activity and sedentary behavior in the novel coronavirus pandemic: Determinants of Health and Physical Activity Levels Among Breast Cancer Survivors During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Cross-Sectional Study , published in Frontiers in Physiology .

This study showed that Remama participants became inactive and increased sedentary time during the pandemic and as a result of this habit gained between 1 and 15 kg during this period. From the detection of this context, the “Remama ON” program was started, an online physical conditioning and health education program for Remama participants and supported by the Pro-Rectory of Culture and University Extension (PRCEU) in the public notice 02/2021 Inclusion and Diversity at USP in compliance with the UN’s 2030 sustainable development agenda. The article Effect of exercise on markers of inflammation in breast cancer survivors: The Yale Exercise and Survivorship Study , published in Scilit, shows this beneficial relationship between physical activity and lower cancer risks.

cancer patients
About the guide, Patrícia Brum reports that little is discussed about the performance of physical exercises with cancer patients, but in her opinion, as treatments advance, providing more survival to people, it is necessary to seek mechanisms that bring them more quality. of life. The guide will give more security to health professionals in the medical conduct for their patients regarding the practice of physical activity, even if they are undergoing chemotherapy, radiotherapy, hormone therapy, among others,

According to the document, 50% of cancers are preventable through prevention. In Brazil alone, approximately 27% (114,497 cases) of all cancer cases and 34% (63,371 deaths) of all cancer deaths could be avoided by promoting a healthy lifestyle, such as not smoking, not drinking alcohol, maintenance of body weight, healthy eating and physical activity.


The document has extensive content and is easy to understand, reports Deminice. Regarding the ideal time to get out of a sedentary lifestyle, maintain weight and reap the health benefits, the researcher recommends 150 minutes a week of moderate intensity (walking briskly, for example) or at least 75 minutes a week of vigorous intensity (running, playing soccer or jumping rope) or an equivalent combination of moderate and vigorous activities.
Once released, the document will be public and freely accessible and will soon be the subject of a scientific article. In addition to Professor Rafael Demenice (UEL) and Professor Patrícia Chakur Brum (EEFE/USP), other researchers were involved in the work: Daniela Dornelles Rosa, from the Brazilian Society of Clinical Oncology (SBOC); Fabio Fortunato Brasil de Carvalho, from the National Cancer Institute (INCA); Leandro Fórnias Machado de Rezende, from the Federal University of São Paulo (Unifesp); Leandro Martin Totaro Garcia, from Queens University Belfast – UK; Raquel Rieira, from the Federal University of São Paulo (Unifesp); Renata Cangussu, from the Brazilian Society of Clinical Oncology (SBOC); and Ronaldo Corrêa Ferreira da Silva, from the National Cancer Institute (INCA).

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