While studies have previously shown that exercise improves the health of lung cancer patients, Dr. Carolyn McIntyre, a scientist at Edith Cowan University near Perth in Western Australia, is teaming up with Australian professors Gary Lee, an international mesothelioma authority, and Rob Newton, an expert in exercise and cancer, to show how mesothelioma patients can benefit specifically. “We are hoping to show that a tailored exercise program can promote muscle strength, mobility and confidence in patients, which will hopefully lead to improvements in quality of life,” said Dr. McIntyre.
Mesothelioma is a rare cancer of the lining of the chest and abdomen which develops only when microscopic asbestos fibers are inhaled and ingested. The longer and more often a person is exposed, the higher the risk for mesothelioma,. “Despite medical advances, mesothelioma remains an incurable cancer with no significant improvement in patient survival in the past few decades,” says Dr. McIntyre. But that’s not to say that exercise can’t help improve the quality of a mesothelioma patient’s life.
The Western Australia Cancer Council Fellowship will provide funding to create a six- to eight-week exercise program customized for mesothelioma patients who will perform supervised sessions two to three times a week. The results of the study could very well influence how the needs of this cancer population are addressed by the medical community.