Safety, Effectiveness, and Uptake of Exercise Medicine Integrated Within a Cancer Care Center

Robert U. Newton, Mary A. Kennedy, Favil Singh, Dennis R. Taaffe, Nigel A. Spry, Raphael Chee, Yvonne Zissiadis, Michael Davis, Daniel A. Galvão

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

Objectives: The aim of this study was to evaluate the safety, effectiveness, and acceptability of an exercise clinic co-located within a cancer treatment center to identify best practices for integrating exercise medicine into cancer care. Data Sources: Two-hundred thirty-seven patients were referred to the exercise clinic and completed self-report health and demographic questionnaires. Further assessments were conducted at baseline on 67 patients and following completion of the exercise program by 46 patients. Endpoints included muscular strength, physical function, cardiorespiratory fitness, body composition, quality of life, and fatigue scores. Adverse events were tracked throughout exercise participation to evaluate program safety. Conclusion: Exercise programming co-located and aligned with cancer treatment in a real-world clinical setting appears to be safe with only four minor exercise-related adverse events. Effectiveness was demonstrated by all physical performance (2.9%–9.5%), strength (7.4%–27.6%), and balance (10.1%) improving and some patients reported outcomes exhibiting modest but clinically relevant benefit. Importantly, no outcomes including fatigue worsened even though the patients were undergoing radiation and/or chemotherapy. Assessment of patient physical and self-reported outcomes should be co-located where they receive oncological treatment and/or exercise medicine to increase uptake of this aspect of the service. Future work should incorporate and describe program and implementation design to help identify best practices in exercise oncology programming. Implications for Nursing Practice: Nurses are a primary driver of exercise among patients receiving treatment for cancer. Their regular patient interactions offer a practical opportunity to collect and record important exercise-related information from patients. As organizations look to develop plans to implement exercise into standard practice, input from nurses is critical to ensure program feasibility.

Original languageEnglish
Article number151073
JournalSeminars in Oncology Nursing
Volume36
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020

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