A randomised controlled trial comparing the effects of a 12-week supervised exercise versus usual care on outcomes in haematological cancer patients
School of Nursing and Midwifery
Purpose: Following treatment, haematological cancer (HEM) patients exhibit significant physical deconditioning and psychological distress. Exercise has been shown as a clinically effective and safe intervention for cancer patients, with the potential to reverse the deleterious effects following treatment. Our aim was to investigate the efficacy of a 12-week exercise rehabilitation on cancer-related fatigue (CRF) and associated outcomes in HEM patients post-treatment. Methods: Patients with a HEM were recruited to participate in a 12-week exercise rehabilitation intervention post-treatment. Pre-, post- and follow-up assessments were conducted on outcome measures including CRF, quality of life (QoL), psychological distress, cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength (MS) and body composition. Patients were given tailored exercise programmes comprising aerobic and resistance exercises, carried out three times per week for 12 weeks in local gyms and clinics. Usual-care participants were offered a delayed, tailored 12-week exercise intervention after the initial study period. Results: Thirty-seven patients (49 % recruitment rate) were randomly assigned to the 12-week exercise rehabilitation (n = 18) or usual care (n = 19) with a 91 % adherence to the exercise intervention. Following the exercise programme, significant improvements were seen in CRF (p = 0.01), cardiovascular fitness (p ≤ 0.001), QoL (p ≤ 0.001), MS (p ≤ 0.001) and body composition (p = 0.001), with moderate to large effects for all primary outcomes. Patient follow-up at 24 weeks demonstrated outcome maintenance in the exercise rehabilitation group and significant improvements in outcomes in usual-care patients following participation in a delayed exercise programme. There were no adverse reactions or study withdrawals. Conclusions: A 12-week exercise rehabilitation programme resulted in significant statistical (p ≤ 0.05) and clinical improvements in CRF and additional outcomes in HEM patients following treatment. Additionally, a 12-week delayed exercise programme showed similar significant improvements in patient outcomes. Trial registration: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12609000450213. © 2015, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.