The authors of this study remark that, for elderly patients with cancer, the objective of movement interventions (with or without a nutritional component) often comes down to better functioning, and not to better fitness. Therefore, it is no wonder that interventions that took into account not only capacity but also preference the most, resulted in the biggest effects. This result underlines the importance of ‘goal setting’ as part of a methodical approach; stating specific goals and proper communication about these goals is a vital part of the physiotherapeutic treatment of people with cancer in general, and especially for those who are most vulnerable.
It is striking how little studies were found in which activity and nutrition were combined as a means of intervention, and how common nutritional interventions were (namely: mainly aimed at education and behaviour, but not including specific individualised dietary restrictions). There is clearly a lot to gain in that area. Accordingly, physiotherapists can learn relatively little from these studies. Nevertheless, based on their common sense and their physiological knowledge, physiotherapists should be alert for problems with nutritional status (both underweight as well as overweight, and especially a deficit in muscle mass masked by overweight), and when in doubt they should consult a dietician.