Patients with lung cancer who exercise before surgery have fewer complications and go home earlier, research has found.
The study, led by Curtin University, shows that one to four weeks of supervised exercise before lung cancer surgery reduced the risk of post-operative complications by 67 per cent, decreased the length of hospital stay by four days, and cut the number of days a patient needed a chest tube by three days.
The improvements were due to an increase in patients’ fitness levels.
Lead researcher Dr Vin Cavalheri said health professionals should consider referring lung cancer patients for supervised exercise training before surgery.
Referring people with lung cancer to supervised exercise training before surgery is not current practice in Australia and New Zealand.
“However, this review highlights the benefits of pre-operative exercise training for people with lung cancer,” Dr Cavalheri said.
“And it suggests that health professionals, such as thoracic surgeons, oncologists and respiratory physicians, should refer patients scheduled to undergo lung resection for lung cancer to an exercise training program before surgery.”
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