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Keywords

Cancer rehabilitation, Exercise intervention, Quality of life, Symptom management

 

Authors

  1. Swenson, Karen K. PhD, RN
  2. Nissen, Mary Jo PhD, MPH
  3. Knippenberg, Kathryn MPH
  4. Sistermans, Annemiek PT
  5. Spilde, Paul PT
  6. Bell, Elaine M. RN, OCN
  7. Nissen, Julia BA
  8. Chen, Cathleen MD
  9. Tsai, Michaela L. MD

Abstract

Background: Cancer treatments can lead to detriments in patients' health and declines in quality of life (QOL). Cancer rehabilitation programs may improve functional status, symptom control, and QOL.

 

Objective: The objective of this study was to determine if an outpatient, physical therapy-supervised Cancer Rehabilitation Strengthening and Conditioning (CRSC) program improved patients' conditioning level, functional status, QOL, and symptoms.

 

Methods: This was a prospective study of oncology patients participating in CRSC program. Measurements included conditioning level (6-minute walk test [SMWT], metabolic equivalent level, grip strength), functional status (Physical Component Summary of Short Form 36), QOL (Mental Component Summary of Short Form 36), and symptoms (M. D. Anderson Symptom Inventory). Paired t tests were conducted to determine significant changes between pre- and post-CRSC program measures, and regression methods identified predictors of change from baseline.

 

Results: One hundred fifteen patients with cancer were enrolled in the study; 75 patients completed pre- and post-CRSC program measures. Significant improvements were noted in SMWT by 186.4 ft, SMWT speed by 0.35 mph, treadmill time (3.5 minutes longer), metabolic equivalent level (by 0.87 units), QOL, symptom severity, symptom interference with daily life, fatigue, shortness of breath, and sadness.

 

Conclusions: In a pretest-posttest design, significant improvements were noted in conditioning level, functional status, QOL, and symptoms. Greater improvements were noted in participants who were most deconditioned at baseline.

 

Implications for Practice: Further research should be conducted to provide additional support for CRSC programs. Cancer rehabilitation strengthening and condition programs may benefit patients across the continuum of care, including deconditioned patients.