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Exploring the Effect of Exercise Physiology Intervention Among Adolescent and Young Adults Diagnosed With Cancer

Murnane, Andrew, MaApplSci, Grad Dip, AEP1; Thompson, Kate, MASW, BA, BSW2; Mancuso, Sam G., PhD (Clinical Psychology)3; Lewin, Jeremy, MBBS (hons), FRACP, GradCert AHW4; Orme, Lisa M., MBBS, FRACP5

doi: 10.1097/01.REO.0000000000000134
RESEARCH REPORT: PDF Only

Background: Exercise in the adult oncology setting has proven to be an effective intervention in improving patients' physical condition and mental health and reducing treatment side effects; however, its role in the adolescent and young adult (AYA) population is less well understood. This study aimed to explore the effects of an exercise physiology (EP) intervention on the functional capacity of AYA diagnosed with malignancy.

Methods: A prospective, single-institution cohort study was conducted of all AYA patients who were referred to the EP service and participated in baseline and postintervention assessment. Patients were provided with an individualized exercise program aimed at improving functional capacity as measured by the Six-Minute Walk Test, maximum push-ups, arm curls, and Sit-to-Stand Test, and a hand-held dynamometer was used to measure limb strength.

Results: Fifty-one patients were included in the analysis, with predominant histological subgroups being sarcoma (37%) and lymphoma (26%). Thirty-seven percent of patients completed the program while on treatment and 63% were posttreatment. For those on treatment, there were significant improvement between baseline and postintervention strength assessments in sit-to-stand, push-ups, and arm curls, with robust effect sizes (Cohen's d R) ranging from small (d R = −0.02, U 3 = 49%) to large (d R = 1.05, U 3 = 85%). For posttreatment AYA, there were differences between all baseline and postintervention functional and strength assessments, with effect sizes ranging from small (d R = 0.30, U 3 = 61.8%) to large (d R = 1.29, U 3 = 90.1%).

Conclusion: An individualized exercise intervention had a positive effect on AYA cancer patients' physical performance both while undergoing treatment and posttreatment. Future randomized controlled trials are required to validate these findings.

1Exercise Physiologist, ONTrac at Peter Mac Victorian Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Service, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

2Program Manager, ONTrac at Peter Mac Victorian Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Service, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

3Senior Research Assistant, ONTrac at Peter Mac Victorian Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Service, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia; and Research Fellow, Department of Psychiatry, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia

4Department of Medical Oncology, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, and Medical Director, ONTrac at Peter Mac Victorian Adolescent & Young Adult Cancer Service, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia and Sir Peter MacCallum Department of Oncology, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Australia

5Paediatric and Adolescent Oncologist, Children's Cancer Centre, Royal Children's Hospital, Parkville, Australia and Medical Oncologist, Sarcoma Service ONTrac at Peter Mac Victorian Adolescent & Young Adult Cancer Service, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne, Australia

Correspondence: Andrew Murnane, ONTrac at Peter Mac, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Locked Bag 1 A'Beckett St, Melbourne, VIC 8006, Australia (Andrew.Murnane@petermac.org.au).

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Copyright 2018 © Oncology Section, APTA
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