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A rehabilitation program for lung cancer patients during postthoracotomy chemotherapy

Authors Hoffman A, Brintnall RA, von Eye A, Jones L, Alderink G, Patzelt L, Brown JK

Received 8 November 2013

Accepted for publication 29 December 2013

Published 10 March 2014 Volume 2014:7 Pages 415—423

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/OTT.S57262

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2


Amy J Hoffman,1 Ruth Ann Brintnall,2 Alexander von Eye,3 Lee W Jones,4 Gordon Alderink,5 Lawrence H Patzelt,6 Jean K Brown7

1College of Nursing, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA; 2Kirkhof College of Nursing, Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids, MI, USA; 3Psychology Department, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA; 4Duke Center for Cancer Survivorship Department of Radiation Oncology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC, USA; 5Frederik Meijer Honors College, Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids, MI, USA; 6Spectrum Health, Grand Rapids, MI, USA and College of Human Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA; 7School of Nursing, University at Buffalo, the State University of New York, Buffalo, NY, USA

Objective: The objective of this pilot study was to describe the effects of a 16-week home-based rehabilitative exercise program on cancer-related fatigue (CRF), other symptoms, functional status, and quality of life (QOL) for patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) after thoracotomy starting within days after hospital discharge and continuing through the initiation and completion of chemotherapy.
Materials and methods: Five patients with NSCLC completed the Brief Fatigue Inventory (measuring CRF severity) and the MD Anderson Symptom Inventory (measuring symptom severity) before and after thoractomy, and at the end of each week of the 16-week exercise program. Additionally, the Medical Outcomes Study Short Form-36 (measuring physical and mental functional status) and the Quality of Life Index (measuring QOL) were completed before and after thoracotomy, after weeks 3, 6, 12, and 16 (the end of the exercise program). Further, the 6-minute walk test (measuring functional capacity) was administered before thoracotomy, prior to the initiation of chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy, and at the end of the 16-week exercise program, after completion of chemotherapy.
Results: Participants had a mean age of 63 years and a mean of five comorbid conditions; the exercise program was initiated within 4 days after hospital discharge. Participants' CRF severity scores were reduced to mild levels, while the mean number of symptoms decreased from 9 postthoracotomy to 6 after the exercise program, with mean levels of severity and interference decreasing to below prethoracotomy levels. Likewise, participants' functional status and QOL after completing the exercise program improved to near or above prethoracotomy levels.
Conclusion: The home-based, light-intensity exercise program for NSCLC patients receiving and completing adjuvant chemotherapy postthoracotomy showed promising trends in improving CRF severity, other symptom severity, functional status, and QOL. Further testing via a two-arm randomized controlled trial is being conducted.

Keywords: lung cancer, exercise, cancer-related fatigue, symptoms, functional status, quality of life

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