Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Lessons learned from process evaluation of an exercise intervention among cancer patients

In a paper just published in European Journal of Cancer Care -with Saskia Persoon as first author, and as part of the Alpe D'HuZes Cancer Rehabilitation research program (A-CaRe)-, we describe the process evaluation of an 18-week supervised exercise programme in 50 patients treated with high-dose chemotherapy followed by autologous stem cell transplantation. The intervention included 30 exercise sessions with six resistance exercises and interval training. We evaluated the context, dose delivered and received, and patients' and physiotherapists' satisfaction with the intervention. Ninety-two per cent of the patients trained within 15 km of their home address, with an average session attendance of 86%. Most patients trained at the prescribed intensity for four of the six resistance exercises, but the dose delivered and received of the two remaining resistance exercises and interval training could not be determined. Both patients and physiotherapists highly appreciated the program (score of 8.3 and 7.9 out of 10 respectively).

Monday, October 2, 2017

Which exercise prescriptions improve quality of life and physical function in patients with cancer?

Certain exercise prescriptions for patients with cancer may improve quality of life (QoL) and self-reported physical function (PF). In a systematic review and meta-analysis of the scientific literature, we investigated the effects of exercise on QoL and PF in patients with cancer and studied differences in effects between different intervention-related and exercise-related characteristics. This investigation has just been published online in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, with Maike Sweegers as first author, and as part of the POLARIS (Predicting OptimaL cAncer RehabIlitation and Supportive care) study
We searched four electronic databases to identify randomised controlled trials investigating exercise effects on QoL and PF in patients with cancer. Subgroup analyses were conducted based on intervention dimensions, including timing, duration and delivery mode, and exercise dimensions, including frequency, intensity, type and time (FITT factors).
Patients in exercise interventions had significantly improved QoL and PF compared with patients in control groups. Especially supervised exercise interventions were effective. No significant differences in intervention effects were found for variations in intervention timing, duration or exercise FITT factors. Unsupervised exercise with higher weekly energy expenditure was more effective than unsupervised exercise with lower energy expenditure.
Our conclusion is that exercise interventions, especially when supervised, have statistically significant and small clinical benefit on self-reported QoL and PF in patients with cancer. Unsupervised exercise intervention effects on PF were larger when prescribed at a higher weekly energy expenditure.