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  • May PTJ: Clinical Decision Making by Physical Therapists

    This month's PTJ includes several articles that illustrate clinical decision making by physical therapists, highlighting opportunities for screening and referral and for screening and thoughtful clinical intervention. Hear Editor in Chief Rebecca Craik, PT, PhD, FAPTA, summarize articles on direct access, exercise prescription for fall prevention, using the six-minute walk test for people with traumatic brain injury, hippotherapy for children, and more in her latest Craikcast.  

    The May issue also includes 2 engaging case reports and a health policy perspective on the role of physical therapists in smoking cessation.

    First Formal Guidelines on Cancer Survivorship Stress Importance of Physical Activity

    Getting adequate physical activity, maintaining a healthy weight, and eating a healthy diet can reduce the chance of recurrence of many cancers and increase the likelihood of disease-free survival after a diagnosis, say new guidelines from the American Cancer Society. The guidelines encourage survivors to aim to exercise for at least 150 minutes per week, and to include strength training exercises at least 2 days per week. 

    The society has issued previous reports outlining the evidence on the effect of nutrition and physical activity on cancer recurrence and survival. However, this is the first time the evidence has been strong enough to release formal guidelines for survivorship. For this report, a group of experts in nutrition, physical activity, and cancer survivorship evaluated the scientific evidence and best clinical practices related to optimal nutrition and physical activity after the diagnosis of cancer. Among the review's conclusions:

    • Evidence strongly suggests that exercise is not only safe and feasible during cancer treatment, but that it can also improve physical functioning, fatigue, multiple aspects of quality of life, and may even increase the rate of completion of chemotherapy.
    • Physical activity after cancer diagnosis is associated with a reduced risk of cancer recurrence and improved overall mortality among multiple cancer survivor groups, including breast, colorectal, prostate, and ovarian cancer.
    • Among breast cancer survivors, physical activity after diagnosis has consistently been associated with reduced risk of breast cancer recurrence and breast cancer-specific mortality.

    The recommendations also include specific guidance for people diagnosed with breast, colorectal, endometrial, ovarian, lung, prostate, head and neck, and hematologic cancers. It also includes a section with answers to common questions about alcohol, organic foods, sugar, supplements, and several other areas of interest.

    Free, full text of Nutrition and Physical Activity Guidelines for Cancer Survivors is available online in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. 

    Older Americans Month Highlights Benefits of Active Lifestyle

    In recognition of Older Americans Month, the Department of Health and Human Services urges older Americans to stay active, take care of their health, and be involved in their communities. This year's theme Never Too Old to Play encourages older adults to maintain their health by taking advantage of Medicare's preventive benefits that include a yearly wellness visit, tobacco use cessation counseling, and a range of free screenings for cancer, diabetes, and other chronic diseases.

    Visit the Older Americans Month website for resources and tools to help plan and promote events and activities honoring older Americans this month.