, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 551-562
Date: 09 Jun 2013

Feasibility and efficacy of a supervised exercise intervention in de-conditioned cancer survivors during the early survivorship phase: the PEACH trial

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Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to evaluate the feasibility and efficacy of an 8-week supervised exercise program in de-conditioned cancer survivors within 2–6 months of chemotherapy completion.

Methods

Participants were randomly assigned to an 8-week, twice-weekly, supervised aerobic exercise training regime (n = 23) or a usual care group (n = 20). Feasibility was assessed by recruitment rate, program adherence and participant feedback. The primary outcome was aerobic fitness assessed by the Modified Bruce fitness test at baseline (0 weeks), post-intervention (8 weeks) and at 3-month follow-up. Secondary outcomes included physical activity, waist circumference, fatigue and quality of life.

Results

The recruitment rate was 81 % and adherence to the supervised exercise was 78.3 %. Meaningful differences in aerobic fitness between the exercise and usual care groups at both the 8-week [mean 3.0 mL kg−1 min−1 (95 % CI −1.1–7.0)] and 3-month follow-up [2.1 mL kg−1 min−1 (−2.3–6.6)] were found, although these differences did not achieve statistical significance (p values >0.14). Self-reported physical activity increased in the exercise group (EG) compared to the usual care group at both 8-week (p = 0.01) and 3-month follow-up (p = 0.03) and significant differences in favour of the EG were found for physical well-being at both the 8-week (p = 0.03) and 3-month follow-up (p = 0.04). Improvements in fatigue (p = 0.01), total quality of life plus fatigue (p = 0.04), and a composite physical functioning score (p = 0.01) at the 3-month follow-up were also found.

Conclusion

The PEACH trial suggests that 8 weeks of supervised aerobic exercise training was feasible and may improve aerobic fitness, fatigue and quality of life in de-conditioned cancer survivors during the early survivorship phase.

Implications for Cancer Survivors

Exercise interventions commenced in the early survivorship phase appear safe, feasible and may lead to improvements in QOL and fatigue.