Exercise as an Intervention to Mitigate Decreased Cognitive Function From Cancer and Cancer Treatment: An Integrative Review
Myers, Jamie S. PhD; Erickson, Kirk I. PhD; Sereika, Susan M. PhD; Bender, Catherine M. PhD
Dr. Myers: "Our authorship and research team members all are conducting research to advance the state of the knowledge about the use of exercise as an intervention for cancer and cancer therapy-related cognitive impairment. This integrative review process was very valuable to us as we were able to identify the current state of the evidence and outline the important remaining questions to be answered to be able to recommend various forms of exercise as standard of care interventions in this patient population.
At the University of Kansas Medical Center, we currently are conducting a randomized, wait-list controlled trial to investigate three interventions for cancer and cancer treatment-related cognitive impairment. Women with stage I-III breast cancer who are within 2 months to 5 years of completing chemotherapy are randomized to one of the three intervention groups. The interventions include Qigong, Gentle Exercise, and Support Group. The groups meet weekly for 8 one hour sessions. We are collecting data on subjective and objective cognitive function at baseline, end of intervention, and one month later. This study is funded through an unrestricted grant from the Oncology Nursing Society Foundation and the Sigma Theta Tau International Foundation for Nursing. Additionally, we are preparing to collaborate with Hiroshima University Graduate School of Biomedical and Health Sciences to investigate a novel exercise intervention for breast cancer survivors with complaints of cognitive dysfunction."
Dr. Bender: "At the University of Pittsburgh, we previously reported that postmenopausal women with early stage breast cancer have poorer working memory and concentration with adjuvant therapy (aromatase inhibitor +/- chemotherapy) and that, compared to age and education-matched controls, women with breast cancer have poorer executive function prior to and during adjuvant therapy. Our team also has documented improvements in executive function and working memory with moderate-intensity aerobic exercise in healthy older adults. Based upon this previous work, we launched the Exercise Program in Cancer and cognition (EPICC) Study. Funded by the national Cancer Institute (R01 CA196762), EPICC is a randomized control trial to examine whether a well-controlled and monitored, site-based, moderate-intensity aerobic exercise intervention, initiated before beginning aromatase inhibitor therapy, improves cognitive function in postmenopausal women with early-stage breast cancer. We also will explore whether neuroimaging metrics of brain health (fMRI), pro-inflammatory biomarkers and symptoms (fatigue, sleep problems, depression, anxiety) mediate the effects of exercise on cognitive function."
---Drs. Myers and Bender on their paper,"Exercise as an Intervention to Mitigate Decreased Cognitive Function From Cancer and Cancer Treatment: An Integrative Review," published ahead-of-print on the CANCER NURSING Web site. The full article may be viewed with a subscription.