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Exercise and Cancer Fatigue

Exercise and Cancer Fatigue


Everybody has experienced some sort fatigue at one time or another. Fatigue is a general symptom commonly associated with disease.  Cancer treatment-related fatigue is the most prevalent and distressing symptoms of cancer therapy. Those being treated for cancer experience a different and far more disruptive form of fatigue. Exercise interventions are being proposed to minimize fatigue in cancer treating patients. Exercise studies with cancer patients have reported the positive effects of exercise on mood, chemotherapy side effect severity, weight gain, functional ability, and quality of life.

A study conducted  by the School of Nursing at Oregon Health Sciences University and Oregon Cancer Center in Portland examined the relationship between exercise and fatigue over the first three cycles of chemotherapy in women receiving treatment for breast cancer. Seventy-two newly diagnosed women with breast cancer were instructed in a home-based moderate-intensity exercise intervention. Measures of functional ability, energy expenditure, and fatigue were obtained at baseline and post test. Subjects maintained daily records of four types of fatigue, with exercise duration, intensity, and type.

Results showed that exercise significantly reduced all four levels of fatigue. As the duration of exercise increased, the intensity of fatigue declined. There was a significant carry-over effect of exercise on fatigue, but the effect lasted only one day. The level of fatigue at study entry was not associated with number of days of exercise or amount of exercise a woman engaged in.

In conclusion, the impact of exercise on fatigue was significant. It suggests the effectiveness of a low- to moderate-intensity regular exercise program in maintaining functional ability and reducing fatigue in women with breast cancer receiving chemotherapy.

The Relationship between exercise and cancer fatigue.

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