A review of randomized controlled trials by a panel of clinical and research experts confirmed that during and after cancer treatment, exercise is safe and beneficial for reducing many common sequelae of cancer treatment, such as fatigue, increased body weight, health-related physical fitness, and health-related quality of life (HRQoL).1 Although results of the effectiveness of community-based exercise programs have recently been published,2–8 effective translation of this research into clinical oncology practice remains to be demonstrated and is a top research question in the field.9 Very little is known about the effectiveness of outpatient exercise rehabilitation programs for cancer survivors in “real-world” settings, where the stringent eligibility requirements and expectations typical for research trials are removed, the program is embedded within existing healthcare infrastructure, and delivery of the program is by nonresearch staff.9
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a cancer rehabilitation program implemented using evidence-based guidelines within an existing clinical care setting. The primary aim was to describe the changes in health and physical function that occurred with the completion of this hospital-based, individualized cancer rehabilitation program. The secondary aim was to determine whether demographics, cancer variables, and baseline health habits moderated the effect of the rehabilitation program.
Ms. Ballard and Mr. Downey were Novant Health employees and developed the program and collected the data described in the manuscript. They provided revisions and approval of the manuscript, but were not involved in data analysis or interpretation. Dr. Kirkham is supported by a Canadian Institutes of Health Research Postdoctoral Fellowship and an Alberta Innovates – Health Solutions Clinician Fellowship. The remaining authors have disclosed that they have no financial interests, arrangements, affiliations, or commercial interests with the manufacturers of any products discussed in this article or their competitors.
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