Currently there are more than 13.7 million cancer survivors living in the U.S., and that figure is projected to increase by 31% in the next decade, adding another 4 million cancer survivors into the healthcare system. Cancer is largely a disease of aging, and the aging of the population will sharply raise the proportion of older cancer survivors, many of whom will be long-term survivors (5+years post diagnosis). This review will address the potential utility of exercise to address three health problems that are of particular concern for the aging cancer survivor and the healthcare system, i.e., disability, falls, and cardiovascular disease, because the development of these age-related problems may be accelerated by cancer treatment. While there are many different modes of exercise that each produce specific adaptations, Tai Ji Quan may be a particularly suitable strategy to mitigate the development of age- and cancer-treatment-related problems. Based on studies in older adults without cancer, Tai Ji Quan produces musculoskeletal and cardiometabolic adaptations and is more easily performed by older adults due to its low energy cost and slower movement patterns. Since cancer survivors are mostly older, inactive, and often physically limited by the lingering side effects of treatment, they need to engage in safe, practical, and effective modes of exercise. The dearth of published controlled trials examining the efficacy of Tai Ji Quan to mitigate cancer-treatment-related musculoskeletal and cardiovascular side effects points to ample research opportunities to explore the application of this non-Western exercise modality to improve long-term outcomes for aging cancer survivors.
- Cancer survivor
- Physical activity
- Physical function
- Tai Ji Quan
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation