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Breast Cancer Rehabilitation: Does Physical Activity Reduce Fatigue?

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abstract
Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer that affects women in the United States. For 2010, it was estimated that there were 207,090 new cases of invasive breast cancer diagnoses in women (ACS, 2010). The treatment for breast cancer can include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. Following the completion of these treatments, many side effects have been linked to these survivors. Cancer-related fatigue is a side effect that is characterized as, “a persistent subjective sense of tiredness related to cancer or cancer treatment that interferes with usual functioning” (Mock & McCorkle, 2003). Although research has revealed that physical activity has a positive effect on fatigue, women are decreasing their physical activity during the treatment time period. To date, there has been no research examining the feasibility of a multi-component rehabilitation program for breast cancer survivors. The purpose of this study was to test the feasibility of conducting a comprehensive rehabilitation program for women immediately following the completion of their breast cancer treatments. Participants were recruited from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. Upon consenting to the study, the participants were required to attend three exercise sessions that included aerobic, resistance and flexibility training. Along with an exercise component, the participants received a baseline patient assessment, nutrition counseling, physical activity counseling, and social support. Feasibility was assessed by recruitment rate, exercise session attendance, retention to the program, adverse events, and enjoyment. Secondary objectives to the study were to examine the relationship between physical activity and fatigue at baseline, and the change in fatigue following the completion of the three month program. From August 1, 2010 to March 31, 2011 there were nine participants with stage I to IV breast cancer that were consented, which resulted in a 38% recruitment rate. Exercise session attendance rate for the seven participants that had completed the three month intervention in time for this thesis was 70.2%. Results also revealed a 100% retention rate, one adverse event, and overall enjoyment of the program. A Wilcoxen Signed Ranks test did not reveal a significant decrease in fatigue over three months of participation in physical activity. Although results did not reveal a decrease in fatigue, the small sample size at the time of this analysis may play a role and this side-effect of breast cancer should be further studied. Future research and the continuation of this study should assist in developing exercise prescription guidelines for this population. Efforts aimed at recruiting a larger sample and implementing a comprehensive rehabilitation program on a larger scale are warranted.
subject
breast cancer
fatigue
feasibility
physical activity
contributor
Kassebaum, Nicole Lynn (author)
Mihalko, Shannon L (committee chair)
Brubaker, Peter (committee member)
Vitolins, Mara (committee member)
date
2011-07-14T20:35:29Z (accessioned)
2011 (issued)
degree
Health and Exercise Science (discipline)
10000-01-01 (liftdate)
embargo
forever (terms)
identifier
http://hdl.handle.net/10339/33446 (uri)
language
en (iso)
publisher
Wake Forest University
title
Breast Cancer Rehabilitation: Does Physical Activity Reduce Fatigue?
type
Thesis

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