BACKGROUND: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is one of the greatest long-term health concerns for survivors of cancer. Research highlights exercise as a potential means to mitigate CVD risk. The measurement of augmentation index (Alx) and pulse wave velocity (PWV), key CVD risk factors, have gained prominence due to the non-invasive nature and time-efficiency of the measurements. However, their response to exercise in survivors of cancer remains unexplored. As such, this study aimed to investigate the effects of an exercise program on cardiovascular outcomes in survivors of cancer. METHODS: Participants were recruited from local hospital systems in the Midlands region of South Carolina. All participants completed supervised exercise sessions 2 days/week for 8 weeks. Sessions consisted of 6-8 resistance exercises targeting each of the major muscle groups of the upper and lower body. This was followed by 15-20 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous intensity aerobic activity. One week prior to and following the exercise program, brachial systolic blood pressure (SBP), brachial diastolic blood pressure (DBP), resting heart rate (RHR), Alx standardized to a heart rate of 75 BPM (Alx@75), and PWV were measured using an oscillometric cuff and applanation tonometry (SphygmoCor Xcel, AtCor Medical). Measurements were taken in a quiet room after 5-10 minutes of rest in the supine position. Paired samples t-test and Cohen’s d effect sizes (ES) were used to compare differences in means with significance defined as p < 0.05. RESULTS: Ten female cancer survivors (age: 65 ± 9 yrs, BMI: 29 ± 5.3, time since diagnosis (mths): 47 ± 51.9, cancer type: breast n=7, ovarian n=1, kidney n=1, multiple myeloma n=1, history of CVD n=2) completed assessments prior to and following the exercise program. No significant differences were detected for changes in SBP (mmHg) (Pre: 139 ± 8.7, Post: 137 ± 9.5, p = 0.33, ES = .14), DBP (mmHg) (Pre: 79 ± 5.1, Post: 79 ± 8.3, p = 0.50, ES = .00), RHR (bpm) (Pre: 73 ± 8.1, Post: 71 ± 12.6, p = 0.21, ES = .26), Alx@75 (%) (Pre: 29.2 ± 9.2, Post: 31.0 ± 8.0, p = 0.3, ES = .16) or PWV (m/s) (Pre: 6.1 ± .72, Post: 6.0 ± 1.17, P = 0.36, ES = .12). CONCLUSION: These findings suggest that the exercise program used in this study did not result in changes to several cardiovascular outcomes. A limitation of this study is the inclusion of individuals without the presence of CVD at baseline, potentially preventing further improvements in cardiovascular outcomes. Future studies should aim to investigate the impacts of longer and/or more comprehensive interventions in addition to controlling for additional factors such as pre-existing CVD, disease type, and previous treatment regimen.

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