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Article Title

CANCER SURVIVOR REHABILITATION PROGRAM: PRELIMINARY RESULTS

Abstract

H. Conner3, J. Peters1, T. Burnham1, K. Justice1, & K. Kemble2.

Central Washington University, Ellensburg, WA1 Wenatchee Valley Medical Center, Wenatchee, WA2, Wenatchee Valley YMCA, Wenatchee, WA3

Cancer survivors in the U.S. now total over 12 million. The symptoms remaining post-treatment may lead to a decrease in quality of life. Often patients are left without guidance to rehabilitate themselves back to prior physical, emotional and psychosocial status. Rehabilitation for patients with cancer should be no different from rehabilitation for other diagnostic conditions, including both educational and functional components. PURPOSE: To measure the effectiveness of a cancer survivor rehabilitation program. METHODS: Thirty post-treatment cancer survivors, (26 breast, 3 colon, 1 lung, 2 men, 28 women, 35-77 years) were subjects in a one group pre-post quasi-experimental design. Subjects were cleared for exercise by their primary oncologist. The program consisted of two 90 minutes sessions a week for 12 weeks. Each meeting was divided into 3 sections: an educational activity, cardiovascular endurance training, and a strength and flexibility session. The dependent measures included: aerobic capacity (VO2max), body fat %, lower body flexibility, handgrip strength, quality of life, Schwartz fatigue scale, and the LASA scale (fatigue, anxiety, confusion, depression, energy and anger). A paired t-test was used for pre-post measures. RESULTS: Aerobic capacity increased 20% (p = .001), body fat decreased by 1.6 % (p = .001), lower body flexibility improved 14% (p = .001), and handgrip strength increased 11.1% (p = .001). Quality of life increased 12.3% (p = .001). Fatigue measured by the Schwartz scale decreased 27% (p = .05), LASA scale results: fatigue decreased 64% (p = .001), and depression decreased 47% (p = .001), confusion decreased 55% (p = .01), energy increased 15% (p = .002), and anger decreased 51% (p = .01). Anxiety decreased 18% but was not statistically significant (p= .16). CONCLUSION: This program gave the participants the tools to change their lifestyles for the better. They developed a fundamental knowledge of the physiological and psychological changes that can occur with lifestyle choices and they had a support system with other participants. This combination of tools acquired in the cancer rehabilitation program proved effective at reducing symptoms often seen in post-treatment cancer survivors and improving overall quality of life.

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