Carol Cannon on Encouraging Cancer Patients to Exercise

Carol Cannon, RN, BSN, OCN, Oncology Program Specialist, Nurse Oncology Education Program, Austin, Texas, discusses the importance of exercise and diet for cancer patients and how nurses can approach the subject.

Carol Cannon, RN, BSN, OCN, Oncology Program Specialist, Nurse Oncology Education Program, Austin, Texas, discusses the importance of exercise and diet for cancer patients and how nurses can approach the subject.

Cannon says one of the barriers facing nurses when discussing exercise and diet with patients is time limitations, particularly since there are so many things nurses need to cover in a small amount of time in an outpatient setting. Also, nurses sometimes feel that their patients already know that exercising is beneficial, Cannon says. However, some patients feel that because they are undergoing a certain type of treatment, exercising isn't a priority to them.

Cannon says that the American Cancer Society recommends exercise as a tool for cancer prevention and as a benefit for cancer survivors. Diet and exercise has been proven to reduce fatigue and improve general quality of life in both cancer patients and survivors.

By initiating the conversation, nurses can let their patients know that they can and should exercise, Cannon says.

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