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Fatigue and Quality of Life Outcomes of Exercise During Cancer Treatment

Authors

  • Victoria Mock dnsc, aocn,

    1. Victoria Mock, DNSc, AOCN, Associate Professor, The Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, Baltimore, Maryland.
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  • Mary Pickett phd, rn,

    1. Mary Pickett, PhD, RN, Research Assistant Professor, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
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  • Mary E. Ropka phd, rn, faan,

    1. Mary E. Ropka, PhD, RN, FAAN, Associate Professor, University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville, Virginia.
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  • Esther Muscari Lin rn, msn, acnp, cs, aocn ,

    1. Esther Muscari Lin, RN, MSN, ACNP, CS, AOCN, Formerly Advanced Practice Oncology Nurse/Clinician 5, University of Virginia Hospital, Charlottesville, Virginia.
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  • Kerry J. Stewart edd, faacvpr, facsm, fcgc,

    1. Kerry J. Stewart, EdD, FAACVPR, FACSM, FCGC, Director, Cardiac Rehabilitation and Prevention, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, Baltimore, Maryland.
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  • Verna A. Rhodes eds, faan,

    1. Verna A. Rhodes, EdS, FAAN, Associate Professor, University of Missouri—Columbia School of Nursing, Columbia, Missouri.
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  • Roxanne McDaniel phd, rn,

    1. Roxanne McDaniel, PhD, RN, Associate Professor, University of Missouri—Columbia School of Nursing, Columbia, Missouri.
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  • Patricia M. Grimm phd, rn, cs,

    1. Patricia M. Grimm, PhD, RN, CS, Formerly Associate Professor, The Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, Baltimore, Maryland.
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  • Sharon Krumm phd, rn,

    1. Sharon Krumm, PhD, RN, Administrative Director of Clinical Services, Johns Hopkins Comprehensive Cancer Center, Baltimore, Maryland.
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  • Ruth McCorkle phd, faan

    1. Ruth McCorkle, PhD, FAAN, Professor, Yale University School of Nursing, New Haven, Connecticut.
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  • This research was funded by a Fatigue Initiative in Research and Education Grant (phase I) awarded by the Oncology Nursing Society Foundation through a donation from Ortho Biotech Inc.

Address for correspondence: Victoria Mock, DNSc, AOCN, The Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, P.O. Box 50250, Baltimore, MD 21211-4250.

Abstract

Purpose: Despite the recognition of fatigue as a common and distressing symptom during cancer treatment, there are few evidence-based interventions available to manage such fatigue. The purpose of this multi-institutional pilot study was to explore the effects of a home-based moderate walking exercise intervention on fatigue, physical functioning, emotional distress, and quality of life (QOL) during breast cancer treatment.

Description of study: Fifty-two women were recruited from five university hospital outpatient departments for this pilot study with an experimental design. Subjects were randomly assigned to the walking program or to usual care during adjuvant chemotherapy or radiation therapy for breast cancer. Symptoms, physical functioning, and QOL were measured at baseline, midtreatment, and at the end of treatment.

Results: Women who exercised at least 90 minutes per week on 3 or more days reported significantly less fatigue and emotional distress as well as higher functional ability and QOL than women who were less active during treatment.

Clinical implications: A home-based walking exercise program is a potentially effective, low-cost, and safe intervention to manage fatigue and to improve QOL during adjuvant chemotherapy or radiation therapy for breast cancer. This health-promoting self-care activity needs further testing in large randomized clinical trials.

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