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Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise:
doi: 10.1249/01.MSS.0000400767.52365.85
A-36 Exercise is Medicine/Poster - Exercise is Medicine: Effects on Health: JUNE 1, 2011 7:30 AM - 12:30 PM: ROOM: Hall B

Efficacy Of Exercise On Anxiety Among Cancer Survivors: A Meta-Analysis: 1367: Board #103 June 1 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM

Pescatello, Shannon M.1; Brown, Justin C.2; Pescatello, Linda S. FACSM2; Huedo-Medina, Tania B.2; Johnson, Blair T.2

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Author Information

1Western New England College, Springfield, MA. 2University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT.

Email: spescatello1@sbcglobal.net

(No relationships reported)

PURPOSE: There are ∼11 million cancer survivors in the US. The 5yr survival rate of cancer increased from 50% in 1974 to 66% in 2004. Cancer survivors experience adverse side effects due to cancer treatment such as anxiety. No meta-analysis has examined the exercise dose or cancer survivors characteristics that would be most effective in reducing anxiety; thus, the purpose of this study.

METHODS: Studies were included if they had: (1) an exercise intervention; (2) a measure of anxiety; (3) a between subjects comparison; and (4) sufficient information to calculate effect size. The standardized mean difference effect size (d) was calculated to estimate the reduction in anxiety among exercise and control groups. Regression examined exercise dose and clinical characteristics explaining unique study variance. All data were analyzed under fixed effects models.

RESULTS: Data from 1,491 cancer survivors in 20 exercise interventions that included 10 breast, 2 leukemia, 2 lymphoma, 1 colorectal, and 5 mixed groups. Four exercise interventions were conducted after treatment was completed; and 7 during chemo, 2 radiation, 1 hormone, and 6 a combination. Exercise interventions were mostly aerobic (80%) and lasted [X(+ SD)] 13.9(±12.8)wk with 3.6(±1.3)sessions·wk-1 and 42.4(±23.5)min·session-1 performed at 4.5(+1.0)METs for aerobic and 2.8(+ 0.3)METs for resistance exercise. Exercise yielded a small to moderate reduction in anxiety [d+=-0.30, 95% CI=(-0.41, -0.19); Q(28)=68.59, I2=72%, 95%CI= (56, 82), p<.001]. Cancer survivors participating in aerobic exercise sessions <45 min·session-1 reduced anxiety more than those participating in >45min·session-1 (B=0.59, p<.01). Cancer survivors performing <45min·session-1 further reduced anxiety if they were undergoing one form of treatment or were not being treated versus those undergoing > 2 treatments (B=0.47, p<.005).

CONCLUSIONS: Shorter bouts of aerobic exercise may be more efficacious in reducing anxiety among cancer survivors undergoing one type of cancer treatment compared to those having multiple treatments. Anxiety levels are increased due to competing time demands that could explain our findings; however, future research is needed to confirm this supposition.

Financial support: University of Connecticut Research Advisory Council Grant #433527

© 2011 American College of Sports Medicine

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