Advances in medical therapies have greatly improved survivorship rates in children diagnosed with brain tumor; as a result, morbidities associated with survivorship have become increasingly important to identify and address. In general, pediatric posterior fossa tumor survivors tend to be less physically active than peers. This may be related to late effects of diagnosis and treatment, including cardiovascular, endocrine, psychological, and neurocognitive difficulties. Exercise has been shown to be effective in improving physical functioning, mood, and even cognitive functioning. Consequently, the benefits of physical exercise need to be explored and incorporated into the daily lives of pediatric posterior fossa tumor survivors. The primary aim of the present study was to establish the feasibility and safety of cardiorespiratory fitness testing in pediatric posterior fossa tumor survivors who had received cranial radiation therapy. In addition, comparing our cohort with previously published data, we found that pediatric posterior fossa tumor survivors tended to be less fit than children with pulmonary disease and healthy controls and approximately as fit as children with chronic heart disease and survivors of other types of childhood cancer. The importance of cardiorespiratory fitness in pediatric posterior fossa tumor survivors is discussed along with implications for future directions.
Departments of *Psychology
‡Pediatric Hematology and Oncology
§Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (Adjunct), University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL
K.R.W. is funded by a training grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI # 5R25CA047888-22). R.K.K. receives funding from the McNulty-Civitan Scientist Award. For the remaining authors, no conflicts of interest or sources of funding are reported.
Reprints: Kelly R. Wolfe, MA, Department of Psychology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, 1530 3rd Avenue South, CH 415, Birmingham, AL 35294 (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Received October 5, 2011
Accepted June 22, 2012