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Role of Adjuvant and Posttreatment Exercise Programs in Breast Health

Jennifer A. Ligibel

Growing evidence suggests that physical activity may be an important part of survivorship care for women with a history of breast cancer. Observational evidence suggests that women who are physically active after breast cancer diagnosis have a 30% to 50% lower risk of breast cancer recurrence, breast cancer death, and overall death compared with sedentary individuals. Although randomized controlled trials have not been performed to test the ability of exercise to improve outcomes in women with early-stage breast cancer, many small intervention studies have shown the safety and potential benefits of exercise in the adjuvant and posttreatment settings. These studies have shown that physical activity can be performed safely both during and after adjuvant treatment for breast cancer, and that women who increase physical activity in these settings experience improvements in fitness, strength, quality of life, and other end points. Although more research is needed to fully define the role of exercise in breast cancer survivors, the many proven benefits of physical activity have led the American Cancer Society and American College of Sports Medicine to encourage regular participation in moderate-intensity recreational activity for most breast cancer survivors. This article reviews the growing evidence that exercise could be an important part of breast cancer survivorship, and describes current exercise guidelines for breast cancer survivors.

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A Work in Progress: Developing the New NCCN Guidelines for Survivorship

Crystal S. Denlinger and Jennifer Ligibel

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New NCCN Guidelines® for Survivorship Care

Jennifer A. Ligibel and Crystal S. Denlinger

Survivorship is a stage in the cancer journey like diagnosis and treatment, but it tends to be somewhat neglected in the quiet afterthoughts of treatment completion. Although cancer recurrence, second cancers, and late side effects of treatment are major concerns for survivors, survivors also may experience a variety of long-term physical and psychological sequelae of a cancer diagnosis and treatment. Oncology professionals may be ill-prepared to tackle these topics, and they have few guidelines for meeting these patient needs. In this article, Dr. Jennifer A. Ligibel and Dr. Crystal S. Denlinger present highlights from the inaugural NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology on survivorship care, focusing on the subtopics of exercise, cognitive function, immunization, and sexual function. They also discuss implementing new recommendations on survivorship assessment in the clinic.

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Letter to the Editor: Lapatinib Confounds Post-Hoc Weight Loss Analysis in the ALTTO Trial

Neil M. Iyengar and Jennifer A. Ligibel

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The Aromatase Inhibitors as Adjuvant Therapy for Hormone Receptor-Positive Breast Cancer

Jennifer A. Ligibel and Eric P. Winer

Adjuvant hormonal therapy has been shown to decrease the risk of breast cancer recurrence and overall mortality in patients with hormone receptor-positive breast cancer. Tamoxifen has been used in this setting for many years, both in premenopausal and postmenopausal patients. Tamoxifen is not devoid of toxicity, and attempts have been made to develop newer hormonal agents with better efficacy and less toxicity. The aromatase inhibitors have shown equivalent or superior efficacy to tamoxifen in the treatment of metastatic breast cancer, and efforts are underway to determine the role of these agents in early breast cancer. The ATAC trial recently showed that use of the third-generation aromatase inhibitor anastrozole in the adjuvant setting led to a modest improvement in relapse-free survival as compared with tamoxifen. Patients treated with anastrozole were also less likely to develop uterine cancer or experience a thromboembolic event. However, patients treated with anastrozole were more likely than those treated with tamoxifen to suffer a fracture or other musculosketal problem. An ASCO technology assessment panel reviewed the relevant data and issued a consensus statement regarding the use of aromatase inhibitors in the adjuvant setting. In general, the panel favored the continued use of tamoxifen as adjuvant hormonal therapy for most postmenopausal women. Within the next few years, further data from the ATAC trial and from other trials of aromatase inhibitors in the adjuvant setting should be available to guide treatment recommendations for this patient population.

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Survivorship: Cognitive Function, Version 1.2014

Crystal S. Denlinger, Jennifer A. Ligibel, Madhuri Are, K. Scott Baker, Wendy Demark-Wahnefried, Debra L. Friedman, Mindy Goldman, Lee Jones, Allison King, Grace H. Ku, Elizabeth Kvale, Terry S. Langbaum, Kristin Leonardi-Warren, Mary S. McCabe, Michelle Melisko, Jose G. Montoya, Kathi Mooney, Mary Ann Morgan, Javid J. Moslehi, Tracey O'Connor, Linda Overholser, Electra D. Paskett, Muhammad Raza, Karen L. Syrjala, Susan G. Urba, Mark T. Wakabayashi, Phyllis Zee, Nicole R. McMillian, and Deborah A. Freedman-Cass

Cognitive impairment is a common complaint among cancer survivors and may be a consequence of the tumors themselves or direct effects of cancer-related treatment (eg, chemotherapy, endocrine therapy, radiation). For some survivors, symptoms persist over the long term and, when more severe, can impact quality of life and function. This section of the NCCN Guidelines for Survivorship provides assessment, evaluation, and management recommendations for cognitive dysfunction in survivors. Nonpharmacologic interventions (eg, instruction in coping strategies; management of distress, pain, sleep disturbances, and fatigue; occupational therapy) are recommended, with pharmacologic interventions as a last line of therapy in survivors for whom other interventions have been insufficient.

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Survivorship: Pain Version 1.2014

Crystal S. Denlinger, Jennifer A. Ligibel, Madhuri Are, K. Scott Baker, Wendy Demark-Wahnefried, Debra L. Friedman, Mindy Goldman, Lee Jones, Allison King, Grace H. Ku, Elizabeth Kvale, Terry S. Langbaum, Kristin Leonardi-Warren, Mary S. McCabe, Michelle Melisko, Jose G. Montoya, Kathi Mooney, Mary Ann Morgan, Javid J. Moslehi, Tracey O’Connor, Linda Overholser, Electra D. Paskett, Muhammad Raza, Karen L. Syrjala, Susan G. Urba, Mark T. Wakabayashi, Phyllis Zee, Nicole McMillian, and Deborah Freedman-Cass

Many posttreatment cancer survivors experience chronic pain, often leading to psychological distress; decreased activity, motivation, and personal interactions; and an overall poor quality of life. This section of the NCCN Guidelines for Survivorship provides screening and management recommendations for pain in survivors. A multidisciplinary approach is recommended, with a combination of pharmacologic treatments, psychosocial and behavioral interventions, physical therapy and exercise, and interventional procedures.

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Survivorship: Sleep Disorders, Version 1.2014

Crystal S. Denlinger, Jennifer A. Ligibel, Madhuri Are, K. Scott Baker, Wendy Demark-Wahnefried, Debra L. Friedman, Mindy Goldman, Lee Jones, Allison King, Grace H. Ku, Elizabeth Kvale, Terry S. Langbaum, Kristin Leonardi-Warren, Mary S. McCabe, Michelle Melisko, Jose G. Montoya, Kathi Mooney, Mary Ann Morgan, Javid J. Moslehi, Tracey O’Connor, Linda Overholser, Electra D. Paskett, Muhammad Raza, Karen L. Syrjala, Susan G. Urba, Mark T. Wakabayashi, Phyllis Zee, Nicole McMillian, and Deborah Freedman-Cass

Sleep disorders, including insomnia and excessive sleepiness, affect a significant proportion of patients with cancer and survivors, often in combination with fatigue, anxiety, and depression. Improvements in sleep lead to improvements in fatigue, mood, and quality of life. This section of the NCCN Guidelines for Survivorship provides screening, diagnosis, and management recommendations for sleep disorders in survivors. Management includes combinations of sleep hygiene education, physical activity, psychosocial interventions, and pharmacologic treatments.

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Survivorship: Fatigue, Version 1.2014

Crystal S. Denlinger, Jennifer A. Ligibel, Madhuri Are, K. Scott Baker, Wendy Demark-Wahnefried, Debra L. Friedman, Mindy Goldman, Lee Jones, Allison King, Grace H. Ku, Elizabeth Kvale, Terry S. Langbaum, Kristin Leonardi-Warren, Mary S. McCabe, Michelle Melisko, Jose G. Montoya, Kathi Mooney, Mary Ann Morgan, Javid J. Moslehi, Tracey O’Connor, Linda Overholser, Electra D. Paskett, Muhammad Raza, Karen L. Syrjala, Susan G. Urba, Mark T. Wakabayashi, Phyllis Zee, Nicole McMillian, and Deborah Freedman-Cass

Many cancer survivors report that fatigue is a disruptive symptom even after treatment ends. Persistent cancer-related fatigue affects quality of life, because individuals become too tired to fully participate in the roles and activities that make life meaningful. Identification and management of fatigue remains an unmet need for many cancer survivors. This section of the NCCN Guidelines for Survivorship provides screening, evaluation, and management recommendations for fatigue in survivors. Management includes education and counseling, physical activity, psychosocial interventions, and pharmacologic treatments.

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Cancer-Related Fatigue, Version 2.2015

Ann M. Berger, Kathi Mooney, Amy Alvarez-Perez, William S. Breitbart, Kristen M. Carpenter, David Cella, Charles Cleeland, Efrat Dotan, Mario A. Eisenberger, Carmen P. Escalante, Paul B. Jacobsen, Catherine Jankowski, Thomas LeBlanc, Jennifer A. Ligibel, Elizabeth Trice Loggers, Belinda Mandrell, Barbara A. Murphy, Oxana Palesh, William F. Pirl, Steven C. Plaxe, Michelle B. Riba, Hope S. Rugo, Carolina Salvador, Lynne I. Wagner, Nina D. Wagner-Johnston, Finly J. Zachariah, Mary Anne Bergman, and Courtney Smith

Cancer-related fatigue is defined as a distressing, persistent, subjective sense of physical, emotional, and/or cognitive tiredness or exhaustion related to cancer or cancer treatment that is not proportional to recent activity and interferes with usual functioning. It is one of the most common side effects in patients with cancer. Fatigue has been shown to be a consequence of active treatment, but it may also persist into posttreatment periods. Furthermore, difficulties in end-of-life care can be compounded by fatigue. The NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines) for Cancer-Related Fatigue provide guidance on screening for fatigue and recommendations for interventions based on the stage of treatment. Interventions may include education and counseling, general strategies for the management of fatigue, and specific nonpharmacologic and pharmacologic interventions. Fatigue is a frequently underreported complication in patients with cancer and, when reported, is responsible for reduced quality of life. Therefore, routine screening to identify fatigue is an important component in improving the quality of life for patients living with cancer.