A lung cancer diagnosis and associated therapeutic management are associated with unique and varying degrees of adverse physical/functional impairments that dramatically reduce patients’ ability to tolerate exercise. Poor exercise capacity predisposes to increased susceptibility to other common age-related diseases, poor quality of life, and likely premature death. This article reviews the literature investigating the role of exercise as an adjunct therapy across the lung cancer continuum (ie, prevention to palliation).
The current evidence suggests that exercise training is a safe and feasible adjunct therapy for patients with operable lung cancer both before and after pulmonary resection. Among patients with inoperable disease, feasibility and safety studies of carefully prescribed exercise training are warranted. Preliminary evidence in this area suggests that exercise therapy may be an important consideration in multidisciplinary management of patients diagnosed with lung cancer.