'Cancer-related fatigue can persist for years, often compounded by other disease-related adverse effects such as depression, anxiety, sleep disturbance, and pain, the researchers noted.
"Cancer-related fatigue reduces a patient's ability to complete medical treatments for cancer and participate in essential and valued life activities, thus undermining quality of life and potentially reducing overall survival," they said.
In the U.S. the National Cancer Institute clinical oncology research program has identified cancer-related fatigue as one of its top five research priorities.
"There has been evidence that exercise reduces cancer-related fatigue, but this rigorous meta-analysis of all high-quality papers on the topic confirms those previous findings," said Christine Ambrosone, PhD, of Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, N.Y.
However, motivating exhausted patients to exercise, even with the knowledge that it may relieve treatment-related symptoms could prove "difficult," noted Ambrosone, who was not involved in the study
"For that, clinicians need to also believe that these interventions are more effective than medications," she told MedPage Today. "This meta-analysis provides that evidence."'