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Exercise Programs for Cancer-Related Fatigue: Evidence and Clinical Guidelines

Margaret L. McNeely and Kerry S. Courneya

This article provides an overview of the research literature and clinical recommendations on aerobic and resistance exercise programs for managing cancer-related fatigue (CRF). Current research evidence suggests that exercise improves CRF, with more recent evidence suggesting greater benefits when exercise programs are administered in the survivorship phase than in the active treatment phase. Moreover, positive changes in fitness from aerobic exercise programs have been shown to mediate the effects of exercise on CRF. Resistance exercise programs show promise in ameliorating CRF, especially in patients with prostate cancer, and should be considered a potential component of the exercise program. Future trials should examine the potential mechanisms through which exercise influences symptoms of CRF and the effect of exercise on CRF in the long-term. More research is needed evaluating exercise programs for cancer survivors with CRF, especially those with moderate-to-severe CRF.