A new study examines the positive impact of exercise in long-term survivors of pediatric brain tumours (BTs).
The good news is survival rates for children diagnosed with malignant brain tumours (BTs) are greater than 70%. The bad news is that these kids have decreased physical function, impaired fitness, and poor functional mobility. Even more, they are discouraged from physical activities since many communities, or school-based physical programs are not designed for them, and the parents may restrict physical activities to protect them from any perceivable harms. However, physical activity may improve their quality of life significantly, as suggested by accumulating evidence that exercise improves cancer outcomes in adults. Unfortunately, little is known about how a regular exercise regimen can improve physical functions on pediatric BT survivors.
A new study published in the European Journal of Cancer examined whether exercise training improves physical functions in pediatric BT survivors. 32 children (6-17 years of age) treated with cranial radiation for brain tumours were divided into an exercise training group or no training control group. For 12 consecutive weeks, the children had 3 training sessions per week of 90 minutes of different cardiorespiratory physical activities. The majority of the participants adhered to their exercise program. They found that the 12-week training resulted in improvement of bilateral coordination and this lasted even 12 weeks after the end of the training.
This study was the first investigation examining the efficacy of exercise in long-term survivors of pediatric BTs, and showed that exercise training improves their physical function and fitness. So, developing exercise programs that include these children and allowing them to participate in an appropriate amount of exercise will do more good than harm.
Written By: Boram Ham, PhD