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The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2019 May;59(5):846-52

DOI: 10.23736/S0022-4707.18.08908-9


language: English

Effects of a home-based exercise rehabilitation program for cancer survivors

Laura STEFANI 1 , Riggs KLIKA 2, Gabriele MASCHERINI 1, Francesca MAZZONI 3, Alice LUNGHI 3, Cristian PETRI 1, Paolo PETRENI 3, Francesco DI COSTANZO 3, Nicola MAFFULLI 4, 5, Giorgio GALANTI 1

1 Center of Sports Medicine, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Florence, Florence, Italy; 2 American College of Sports Medicine, Special Interest Group on Cancer, Aspen Cancer Survivor Center, Aspen, CO, USA; 3 Division of Medical Oncology, Department of Oncology, University of Florence, Florence, Italy; 4 Department of Musculoskeletal Disorders, School of Medicine and Surgery, University of Salerno, Salerno, Italy; 5 Center for Sports and Exercise Medicine, Bart’s and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Mile End Hospital, London, UK

BACKGROUND: Aerobic and resistance exercises have been promoted recently to improve quality of life in cancer patients. Most cancer survivorship rehabilitation programs consist of supervised exercise programs; however, less data is available on the effects of unsupervised or home-based exercise interventions. The study aimed to compare the physical and physiologic changes in a group of cancer survivors (CS) and a control group of non-cancer, health controls (HC) who participated in individualized home-based aerobic and resistance exercises for 12 months.
METHODS: Thirty-three surviving cancer survivors (CS) aged 55.6±3 years were enrolled for 1 year of unsupervised exercise prescription programs. Anthropometric parameters hydration status, fitness, and echocardiographic examination were measured every six month and compared to10 HC (aged 52.6±7.7 years) individuals prior to starting the program (t0) and at 6 (t6) and 12 (t12) months.
RESULTS: Among the CS subjects, a significant reductions in waist circumference (t0: 97.5±15.2 cm, t6: 86.6±13.5 cm, t12: 85.8±13.9 cm; P<0.05), body cell mass (t0: 50.9±4.7%, t6: 52.3±4.4%, t12: 53.7±3.7%; P<0.05), and extracellular mass (t0: 49.1±4.7%, t6: 47.6±4.4%, t12: 46.2±3.7%; P<0.05) were observed, as well significant improvements in lower body muscle strength (chair test t0: 13.3±4.1, t6: 14.2±3.5, t12: 15.1±3.2; P<0.05). Changes in functionality and heart function were similar between CS and HC.
CONCLUSIONS: Individually-prescribed home-based exercise programs were cost effective, safe and resulted in modest improvements in body composition, strength, and total body water distribution with little to no adverse effect on cardiac function.

KEY WORDS: Cardiovascular physiological phenomena - Exercise therapy - Cancer survivors - Body composition

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