Freerk T. Baumann, Wilhelm Bloch and Julia Beulertz
As a result of improved treatment regimes in pediatric oncology, the survival rates of children with cancer have risen to ~80% for 5-y survival. Therefore, the population of childhood cancer survivors is constantly growing. Despite these positive developments, childhood cancer is associated with a wide spectrum of various disease- and treatment-related side effects that may develop into chronic diseases and therefore result in long-term consequences. A negative impact on social, psychological, and physiological levels can be observed. Inactivity, impaired cardiopulmonary and musculoskeletal function, as well as reduced motor performance levels and cognitive abilities have been detected. Current studies also examined a negative impact on psychological well-being, satisfaction, and social functioning. Taken together, an impaired quality of life can thus be determined.
During the past few years, several studies have generated first hints describing holistic, positive effects of clinical exercise interventions in pediatric oncology. First results present an association between increased physical activity levels in childhood cancer patients and an improvement in quality of life. In particular, physical functioning is increased, anxiety is reduced, and social integration is encouraged. Considering the fact that physical activity plays a vital role in the physiological and psychosocial development of children, therapeutic exercise in pediatric oncology is particularly important. However, there is still a lack of comprehensive and evidence-based data in the eld of exercise interventions in pediatric oncology. Therefore, evidence-based exercise recommendations for childhood cancer patients are still missing.