Palliative treatment looks at relieving symptoms such as pain and sickness and improving patients’ quality of life. It is commonly used for patients with advanced cancer who can’t be cured through existing treatments and only expected to live longer and comfortably.
Nutrition is a paramount part of cancer treatment, and cancer patients required additional nutritional care, and healthy and nutritional diets can help them improve energy to recover diseases.
Exercise is also beneficial for cancer patients. There is the strongest evidence that exercise is better at improving physical function, attenuating cancer-related fatigue, alleviating psychological distress and improving quality of life. The Clinical Oncology Society of Australia holds that exercise should be established as part of standard practice and an adjunct therapy in cancer care.
Recently, researchers from Switzerland investigated the effects of combined nutrition and physical exercise intervention in palliative cancer patients.
The study findings showed that combined nutrition and physical exercise regimen helped patients reduce nausea and vomiting to improve their general well-being.
The participants, including 18 women and 40 men, are diagnosed with metastatic or locally advanced tumors of gastrointestinal and lung tracts in the study. They are randomly assigned to receive usual care or a combined nutrition and exercise regimen care.
Especially, the treatment group was required to receive three standardized individual nutritional counseling sessions and take part in a 60-minute exercise twice a week for three months.
Researchers tested participants’ quality of life, physical performance, nutritional status, dietary intake, and clinical data. They found that patients who received a combined nutrition and exercise program saw relief in nausea and vomiting, and protein intake.
However, the study showed no difference in the patients’ overall quality of life.
Though the intervention showed no statistically significant results, researchers speculated that this may be caused by the small number of patients and the heterogeneity of the study population.
Researchers believed that the failure of the study doesn’t mean that nutritional support and exercise is ineffective in cancer patients, and they would improve the study design with available sources in the future trial.