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The Effects of a Comprehensive Exercise Program on Physical Function, Fatigue, and Mood in Patients With Various Types of Cancer

Lindsey Renee Hanna
Patricia Frist Avila
John D. Meteer
Donald R. Nicholas
Leonard A. Kaminsky
ONF 2008, 35(3), 461-469 DOI: 10.1188/08.ONF.461-469

Purpose/Objectives: To evaluate the effectiveness of a comprehensive exercise program consisting of low-to-moderate intensity aerobic and resistance exercise twice a week for 16 sessions with patients in active treatment and cancer survivors beyond treatment related to improvements in physical function, fatigue, and mood.

Design: Retrospective analysis of archived data.

Setting: Cancer center in a 350-bed teaching hospital in east central Indiana.

Sample: 39 patients with cancer and cancer survivors who voluntarily completed a 16-session comprehensive exercise program.

Methods: Physical function, fatigue, and mood were evaluated using the six-minute-walk test, Profile of Mood States questionnaire, and Piper Fatigue Scale questionnaire pre- and postprogram. The program consisted of low-to-moderate aerobic and resistance exercise, education, and support twice weekly.

Main Research Variables: Physical function, fatigue, and mood.

Findings: Pre- and postprogram outcome measures had significant differences (p < 0.05). Participants had significant improvements in physical function, fatigue, and mood.

Conclusions: A comprehensive exercise program consisting of low-to-moderate intensity aerobic and resistance exercise, education, and support twice a week for eight weeks results in significant improvements in physical function, fatigue, and mood in patients in active treatment and cancer survivors beyond treatment.

Implications for Nursing: The comprehensive exercise program is feasible for many institutions using current resources and collaborating among departments to mitigate the short- and long-term effects of fatigue and improve quality of life for cancer survivors with a variety of diagnoses and stages.

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