Exercise may ease complications after cancer surgery

Regular exercise can help post-cancer surgery recovery.

Taking up an exercise program before a cancer operation may improve complications and recovery time, according to new research.

A new Australian study has found that patients who exercised regularly prior to having lung cancer surgery reduced the complication rate by almost half.

In addition, it reduced the length of hospital stay by almost three days.

The study

In the review, researchers looked at studies involving six different types of cancers and multiple exercise programs, including aerobic and resistance training.

When compiled and analysed, the data showed that regular exercise before surgery lessened the rate of post-operative complication by 48 per cent and reduced time spent in hospital.

In addition, more exercise sessions looked to mean better results.

Despite the study looking at different varieties of cancer, lung cancer was the disease that saw the most benefits.

This is partly because most of the studies looked at featured lung cancer. However, there may  be potential that exercise has the same beneficial effects for mouth and prostate cancers. Future studies will have to investigate further.

The British Journal of Sports Medicine has published the results.


Steffens, D. et al. (2018.) ‘Preoperative exercise halves the postoperative complication rate in patients with lung cancer: a systematic review of the effect of exercise on complications, length of stay and quality of life in patients with cancer.’ British Journal of Sports Medicine 2018; 0:1–9. doi:10.1136/bjsports-2017-098032

© 2021 Life Fitness. All Rights Reserved.