Effect of aerobic exercise and relaxation training on fatigue and physical performance of cancer patients after surgery. A randomised controlled trial

Department of Hematology, Oncology and Transfusion Medicine, Charité Campus Benjamin Franklin, 12200 Berlin, Germany.
Supportive Care Cancer (Impact Factor: 2.36). 12/2004; 12(11):774-9. DOI: 10.1007/s00520-004-0676-4
Source: PubMed


Fatigue is a frequent problem after surgical treatment of solid tumours. Aerobic exercise and psychosocial interventions have been shown to reduce the severity of this symptom in cancer patients. Therefore, we compared the effect of the two therapies on fatigue in a randomised controlled study. Seventy-two patients who underwent surgery for lung (n=27) or gastrointestinal tumours (n=42) were assigned to an aerobic exercise group (stationary biking 30 min five times weekly) or a progressive relaxation training group (45 min three times per week). Both interventions were carried out for 3 weeks. At the beginning and the end of the study, we evaluated physical, cognitive and emotional status and somatic complaints with the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire Core Module (EORTC-QLQ-30) questionnaire, and maximal physical performance with an ergometric stress test. Physical performance of the training group improved significantly during the programme (9.4+/-20 watts, p=0.01) but remained unchanged in the relaxation group (1.5+/-14.8 watts, p=0.37). Fatigue and global health scores improved in both groups during the intervention (fatigue: training group 21%, relaxation group 19%; global health of both groups 19%, p for all < or =0.01); however, there was no significant difference between changes in the scores of both groups (p=0.67). We conclude that a structured aerobic training programme improves the physical performance of patients recovering from surgery for solid tumours. However, exercise is not better than progressive relaxation training for the treatment of fatigue in this setting.

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    • "Starting with 25 Watts, we increased by 25-Watt steps every 2 min, with heart rates being measured every 2 min. The test was repeated and Watts were increased to the point of the patients' exhaustion (Dimeo et al. 2004 "
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    ABSTRACT: Cancer-related fatigue (CRF) is a burdensome symptom for breast cancer (BC) patients. In this pilot study, we tested several questionnaires as predictors for treatment responsiveness, along with the implementation of a multimodal therapy concept consisting of sleep, psycho-education, eurythmy, painting therapy and standard aerobic training.At the Community Hospital Havelhöhe and the Hannover Medical School, 31 BC patients suffering from CRF could be evaluated in a 10-week intervention study. CRF was assessed by the Cancer Fatigue Scale (CFS-D). Further questionnaires were the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, the autonomic regulation scale, Self-Regulation Scale (SRS), the Internal Coherence Scale (ICS) and the European Organization of Research and Treatment Health-Related Quality of Life Core Questionnaire scale. We estimated the regression coefficients of all scales on CFS-D by simple and multiple linear regression analyses and compared regression slopes and variances between the different questionnaires on CFS-D at the end of treatment.We found a significant impact of SRS and ICS at baseline on CFS-D at the end of the intervention [absolute standardised multiple regression coefficient values ranging from 0.319 (SRS) to 0.269 (ICS)] but not for the other questionnaires.In conclusion, this study supports the hypothesis that the SRS or ICS measuring adaptive capacities could be more appropriate as outcome predictors than classical questionnaire measures in complex interventions studies.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2015 · European Journal of Cancer Care
    • "Thirty trials implemented an aerobic exercise program. Length of the exercise intervention varied greatly among trials, ranging from three weeks (Dimeo et al., 2004) to one year (Penttinen et al., 2011; Speck, Gross, et al., 2010) (modal duration = 12 weeks). Twenty-five trials assessed HRQOL or HRQOL domains immediately following the end of the interventions. "
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    ABSTRACT: To evaluate the effectiveness of exercise interventions on overall health-related quality of life (HRQOL) and its domains among adults scheduled to, or actively undergoing, cancer treatment. 11 electronic databases were searched through November 2011. In addition, the authors searched PubMed's related article feature, trial registries, and reference lists of included trials and related reviews. 56 trials with 4,826 participants met the inclusion criteria. At 12 weeks, people exposed to exercise interventions had greater improvement in overall HRQOL, physical functioning, role functioning, social functioning, and fatigue. Improvement in HRQOL was associated with moderate-to-vigorous intensity exercise interventions. Exercise can be a useful tool for managing HRQOL and HRQOL domains for people scheduled to, or actively undergoing, cancer treatment. More methodologically rigorous trials are needed to examine the attributes of exercise programs most effective for improving HRQOL. Evidence from this review supports the incorporation of exercise programs of moderate-to-vigorous intensity for the management of HRQOL among people scheduled to, or actively undergoing, cancer treatment into clinical guidelines through the Oncology Nursing Society's Putting Evidence Into Practice resources.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2015 · Oncology nursing forum
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    • "Women who do not participate in strenuous physical activity have been shown to have less good clinical outcomes. Exercise has been associated with improved outcomes in women with BrCa [17, 19–21, 44, 45] and has been demonstrated to have a significant effect in improving CRF [21–25] and also has been shown to improve glucose uptake and insulin sensitivity [16]. Possible mechanisms for decreased prevalence of CRF and good health outcomes in women with BrCa who are physically active pertain to the effect of exercise and activity on a variety of critical pathways that impact metabolism and inflammation. "
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    ABSTRACT: Cancer-related fatigue is common, complex, and distressing. It affects 70-100% of patients receiving chemotherapy and a significant number who have completed their treatments. We assessed a number of variables in women newly diagnosed with primary breast cancer (BrCa) to determine whether biological and/or functional measures are likely to be associated with the development of clinically significant fatigue (CSF). Two hundred twenty-three women participated in a study designed to document the impact of the diagnosis and treatment of primary breast cancer on function. Forty-four had complete data on all variables of interest at the time of confirmed diagnosis but prior to treatment (baseline) and ≥ 9 months post-diagnosis. Objective measures and descriptive variables included history, physical examination, limb volume, hemoglobin, white blood cell count, and glucose. Patient-reported outcomes included a verbal numerical rating of fatigue (0-10, a score of ≥ 4 was CSF), five subscales of the SF-36, Physical Activity Survey, and Sleep Questionnaire. At baseline, the entire cohort (n = 223) and the subset (n = 44) were not significantly different for demographic, biological, and self-reported data, except for younger age (p = 0.03) and ER+ (p = 0.01). Forty-five percent had body mass index (BMI) ≥ 25, 52% were post-menopause, and 52% received modified radical mastectomy, 39% lumpectomy, 52% chemotherapy, 68% radiation, and 86% hormonal therapy. Number of patients with CSF increased from 1 at baseline to 11 at ≥ 9 months of follow-up. CSF at ≥ 9 months significantly correlated with BMI ≥ 25, abnormal white blood cell count, and increase in limb volume and inversely correlated with vigorous activity and physical function (p < 0.05). Fatigue increases significantly following the treatment of BrCa. Predictors of CSF include high BMI and WBC count, increase in limb volume, and low level of physical activity. These are remediable.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2011 · Supportive Care in Cancer
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