BALTIMOREWhat 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).