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FIRE Project Shows Walking Program Decreases Fatigue in Breast Cancer Patients

FIRE Project Shows Walking Program Decreases Fatigue in Breast Cancer Patients

BALTIMORE—What is safe, efficacious, and
cost-effective, not swallowed or taken intravenously, and improves a breast
cancer patient’s quality of life? Exercise, according to a group of
researchers who conducted a multi-institutional, prospective, randomized
controlled trial examining the effects of a supervised walking regimen on
breast cancer patients.

The results showed that breast cancer patients who take part
in a regular walking program have lower levels of fatigue, increased
physical performance, increased functional capacity, and decreased
psychological stress.

Lead investigator Victoria Mock, DNSc, RN, AOCN, presented
the results at a symposium on the FIRE (Fatigue Initiative Through Research
and Education) Project at the Oncology Nursing Society’s 26th Annual
Congress in San Diego.

Dr. Mock is director of nursing research, Johns Hopkins
Comprehensive Cancer Center; associate professor, Johns Hopkins University;
and American Cancer Society Mid-Atlantic Division Professor of Oncology
Nursing.

Dr. Mock began her research into the relationship between
exercise and symptom management in 1994. She began with a pilot project of
14 breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy randomized to usual care
or a rehabilitation exercise program and support group. The pilot study (Oncology Nursing Forum 21:5, 1994) found decreased fatigue in the exercise
group.

She next studied 50 breast cancer patients receiving
radiation therapy after breast-conserving surgery. The women were randomized
to an exercise program or usual care, and, again, the results showed a
decrease in fatigue in the exercise group (Oncology Nursing Forum 24:6,
1997).

Next came a pilot study through the FIRE Project, which
established a network of fatigue researchers and tested the methods used in
the larger trial reported at the ONS congress (Cancer Practice 9:3, 2001).

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