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Feasibility of an exercise rehabilitation programme for cancer patients

Authors

  • C. STEVINSON bsc, msc, phd, research fellow ,

    1. Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation, E-488 Van Vliet Centre, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada, &
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  • K.R. FOX bsc, msc, phd, professor of exercise and health science

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Exercise and Health Sciences, University of Bristol, Centre for Sport Exercise and Health, Bristol, UK
      Ken Fox, Department of Exercise and Health Sciences, University of Bristol, Centre for Sport Exercise and Health, Tyndall Avenue, Bristol BS8 1TP, UK (e-mail: K.R.Fox@bristol.ac.uk).
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Ken Fox, Department of Exercise and Health Sciences, University of Bristol, Centre for Sport Exercise and Health, Tyndall Avenue, Bristol BS8 1TP, UK (e-mail: K.R.Fox@bristol.ac.uk).

Abstract

A growing body of evidence indicates the benefits of exercise as a rehabilitation intervention for cancer patients. However, few hospitals offer exercise-based rehabilitation programmes to patients. This study evaluated the feasibility and acceptability of a group-based exercise programme for cancer patients attending a local oncology centre. The intervention consisted of a weekly instructor-led circuit training class supplemented by home-based activity 4 days/week for 10 weeks. From 28 eligible patients, 12 were recruited (43%), of whom nine completed the intervention (75%). The three withdrawals were due to worsening of disease. Adherence (mean of 7.5 classes attended and 4 days/week of home activity performed) and tolerability (no adverse events) were good. Positive features of the programme identified in interviews with participants included the variety and scope of the exercises, and the empathetic but positive approach of the instructors. The small group format was highly valued with participants receiving social support and inspiration from each other. Perceived outcomes included improved fitness, reduced fatigue, enjoyment, enhanced mood and a sense of achievement. Several participants felt that the intervention represented a stepping stone to becoming habitual exercisers. Results suggested that the programme was feasible and acceptable to patients, but uptake was low, indicating a need for more effective recruitment strategies in order for a cost-effective service to be implemented.

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