Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 24, Issue 9, pp 3705–3713 | Cite as

A multicenter study on the relative effectiveness of a 12-week physical training program for adults with an oncologic diagnosis

  • Hoang Tran
  • Cheng Lin
  • Fang Yu
  • Angie Frederick
  • Molly Mieras
  • Lorena Baccaglini
Original Article



The purpose of this study was to examine the association between cancer survivors’ socio-demographic and clinical characteristics and aerobic fitness changes following a physical training program.


We assessed the association between participant’s characteristics and aerobic fitness in the six-min walk test (6MWT) after a 12-week LIVESTRONG® at Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) exercise program for adults with an oncologic diagnosis using linear mixed effects models.


Fifty-one percent of participants had a breast cancer diagnosis and 22 % had received treatment within 1 year of enrollment. At baseline, participants who reported good/excellent health status performed better in the 6MWT than those who reported poor/fair health status (384.2 vs. 345.0 m, p = 0.035). After 12 weeks, all participants increased their average 6MWT performance by 54.2 m. After adjustment for age, gender, physical activity level, and smoking status, participants who were 60 years old or younger had a greater increase in the 6MWT score than participants older than 60 years (63.2 vs. 43.9 m, p = 0.041) while those who had never been YMCA members had a greater increase in the 6MWT compared to those who had ever been a YMCA member (62.2 vs. 40.3 m, p = 0.041).


Overall, aerobic fitness among adults with an oncologic diagnosis increased after a 12-week exercise program, particularly among participants who were 60 years old or younger or were not YMCA members at enrollment. Participants with poorer health had lower aerobic fitness at baseline, though they had a similar positive response to the program as healthier participants. Future study designs may include randomization and an additional untreated arm.


Cancer rehabilitation Physical exercise Functional ability Aerobic exercise Cancer survivorship 



The authors thank the staff of the eight YMCA of Greater Omaha locations who conducted the training program and collected the data. The authors also acknowledge Zijian Qin, Ann-Hilary Heston, MPA, and Katherine H. Holman, MPH for their critical review of the manuscript. HT was supported by a fellowship from the Vietnam Education Foundation at the time he analyzed this study. The fellowship was not based on this research. Two of the authors, AF and MM, are currently employed by the YMCA of Greater Omaha. AF and MM were mainly involved in designing the study and ensuring data quality. The data analysis and interpretation were conducted independently at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

Compliance with ethical standards

This study was approved by the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) Institutional Review Board. Written informed consent was obtained from all participants before starting the program. The intervention performed in present study was in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hoang Tran
    • 1
  • Cheng Lin
    • 1
  • Fang Yu
    • 2
  • Angie Frederick
    • 3
  • Molly Mieras
    • 3
  • Lorena Baccaglini
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Epidemiology, College of Public HealthUniversity of Nebraska Medical CenterOmahaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Biostatistics, College of Public HealthUniversity of Nebraska Medical CenterOmahaUSA
  3. 3.YMCA at Greater OmahaOmahaUSA

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