Children with cancer may benefit from a different kind of treatment – a healthy dose of adventure such as dog sledding, suggests new research.
The study followed eleven children aged 10-18 years, and five chaperones including doctors and nurses, on a dog sledding expedition to Canada organised by the French non-profit organisation Sourire a la Vie.
“What I learned from this study is that we doctors have the false belief that kids with cancer cannot practice sport because they are too tired or weak from their treatments,” said corresponding author of the study Nicolas Andre from Assistance Publique Hopitaux de Marseille, France.
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“These perceptions are at least partly wrong,” Andre said.
“Adapted physical activities can be performed by most children with cancer even during their treatment and can bring a lot to children,” Andre noted.
All of the eleven children received adapted physical training and exercises before the expedition.
The children successfully completed the programme without harm – and they demonstrated statistically significant improvement in both physical and psychological health.
The findings appeared in the journal ecancermedicalscience.
Based on the success of this study, the researchers said they would initiate a randomised trial to evaluate the benefits of adapted physical activities for children with cancer.