Exercise Prescription in Oncology and Cancer Care

In our field the release of any medical guidelines encouraging exercise prescription as part of a patients treatment plan is really exciting, as on the whole even what is considered the ‘healthy’ population, on average, aren’t moving their bodies frequently enough or in the most effective way for their needs.

We were incredibly pleased that such a critical step toward cancer patient care and survivorship planning was taken this week when the Clinical Oncology Society of Australia (COSA) released new guidelines in relation to the prescription and recommendation for exercise and physical activity to be an essential component of cancer care.

The full guidelines can be found on the COSA website – Position Statement on Exercise in Cancer Care as well as there being many additional news articles and support for this launch of which we have provide many links below.

Some of our highlights of the guidelines are:

  • Exercise to be recommended as standard practice in cancer care and treatment programs
  • Best practice care is to include a referral to an Accredited Exercise Physiologist or Physiotherapist with experience in oncology and cancer care. This is to assist those effected by cancer with tailored, graduated and specific programs to counteract the adverse effects of cancer, its treatment and the related side effects
  • Aim for all members of the multidisciplinary cancer team to promote the role of physical activity and exercise as part of the oncology patient’s treatment plan and assist those effected by cancer to work toward meeting current exercise guidelines


We believe this is such an important step for the medical community to take toward supporting the role of exercise prescription in oncology care. It reinforces the recommendation that support from an Accredited Exercise Physiologist or Physiotherapist is available and appropriate for cancer patients and clients at any stage of the oncology spectrum. This includes:

  • on diagnosis
  • in preparation for treatment
  • surgery rehabilitation
  • both during and after treatment as a way of managing and mitigating treatment related side effects. These side effects can include, but are not limited to, cancer related fatigue, nausea, loss of strength or functional status


This new position statement works toward recognising the physical and psychosocial demands and possible impairment that cancer survivors face. It also recognises that tailored exercise prescription and oncology rehabilitation can assist in alleviating some of the physical challenges and provides further support to the patient through such challenges.

We have seen first hand with our oncology specific programs such as the Leukaemia Foundations – Fit to Thrive program, the Icon Cancer Foundation and QUT BRACE (Brain Cancer and Exercise) Study as well as the amazing results that our private cancer patients are seeing as a result of their individualised program of exercise delivered by our Accredited Exercise Physiologists and our Cancer Exercise Specialist.

For more information:

  • Check out the Medical Journal of Australia’s article here – COSA Position Statement
  • Here is a quick video from the Today show talking about the release.
  • Back in 2015 Associate Professor and leading exercise oncology expert Prue Cormie who was also the lead author in these latest guidelines presented this TEDx talk in Perth, WA.


If you have any questions about any of the above information, programs mentioned or would like to speak to a specialist in relation to tailoring a program to meet your oncology, treatment and lifestyle needs, please contact our friendly reception team on (07) 3310 4969