Walking Helps Lung Cancer Patients Sleep Better

Lung Cancer affected 1.8 million people worldwide in 2012.  It is the most common cause of cancer-related death in men and second most common in women after breast cancer.  About 50 percent to 80 percent of persons diagnosed with lung cancer experience severe insomnia that may persist for an average of eight years after the initial diagnosis. 

Walking Program For Lung Cancer Patients Resulted To Better Sleep

 Researchers from Taiwan found that walking several times a week could help lung cancer patients improve their sleep and quality of life, which are significantly affected during and after treatment.  Those who participated in a 12-week home-based walking program turned out to have better sleep quality at both three and six months after the program. The results reinforce similar findings in breast and colorectal cancer patients, researchers say.

"Walking is safe, feasible and effective for patients. Just walk! With advances in lung cancer treatment, survival improves significantly.  Any interventions that can improve symptoms and quality of life are valuable," said senior author Chia-Chin Lin, a nursing professor at Taipei Medical University.

The Study Examined The Long-Term Effects Of Walking On Lung Cancer Patients

Researchers studied 111 lung cancer patients, ranging in age from late 30s to early 80s. Almost two thirds had stage 1 cancer.  They divided the participants into two groups, with one group of 56 patients advised to walk at a moderate intensity for 40 minutes three times a week.  "Traditionally, physical activities have not been emphasized in lung cancer patients due to concerns about fragility and limited cardiopulmonary function," Lin said. "However, we found that home-based walking programs may be a safe and feasible way to improve emotion and sleep quality."

This is the first randomized study that examines the long-term effects of walking programs on lung cancer patients by measuring data six months later, not just 30 or 90 days.

Ann Berger, professor of Nurse Oncology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha said: "Most cancer patient research focuses on exercise and nutrition. We often forget sleep. This focus is a reflection of the survivorship movement with cancer patients.  We need to help our millions of cancer survivors to stay healthy and prevent cancer re-occurrence and heart disease."

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