A PILOT STUDY OF RESISTANCE EXERCISE FREQUENCY IN BREAST AND OVARIAN CANCER SURVIVORS
Gravelle, Timothy Darren
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A large body of research suggests exercise is effective for improving fitness, quality of life (QOL), and fatigue in cancer survivors. Despite evidence in support of exercise, few studies have rigorously evaluated exercise prescription for survivors. The purpose of this exploratory study was to critically evaluate the differences between a once-a-week and twice-a-week strength training program over a 13 week intervention. Eleven breast and ovarian cancer survivors were randomized to either once-a-week (n = 5) or twice-a-week (n = 6) strength training. Measures of upper and lower body strength and endurance, QOL, and fatigue were collected at the end of weeks 1, 7, and 13. No statistical differences in these primary outcome measures were found between the groups. However, independent of original group assignment, a significant group×time interaction was found for lower body strength (Wilks’ Lambda=0.182, F(2,8) 17.95, p < 0.01) and trends towards significance for upper body strength (Wilks’ Lambda = 0.491, F(2,8) 4.15, p = 0.06), fatigue (Wilks’ Lambda = 0.501, F(2,8) 3.99, p = 0.06), and physical functioning (Wilks’ Lambda = 0.504, F(2,8) 3.93, p = 0.07) when comparing survivors who attended at least once session/week with those who did not. No serious adverse events occurred. These results show that strength training is a safe and effective means for improving muscular strength and endurance. Because of the benefits to muscular fitness and QOL associated with training at least once a week, survivors should at least strength train once weekly and twice-a-week if possible.
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