Changes in Body Composition and Fatigue in Cancer Survivors During a 12-Week Supervised Exercise Oncology Rehab Program

November 2020 Vol 11, No 11
Pamela Cloys, MSN, ANP-C
Prisma Health, Greenville, SC
Jason King, RN, BSN, OCN
Prisma Health, Greenville, SC
Noreen Denham, RN, OCN
Prisma Health, Greenville, SC
Regina Franco, MSN, ANP-C
Prisma Health, Greenville, SC
Jeff Giguere, MD
Prisma Health, Greenville, SC
Armand DeSollar, BS
Prisma Health, Greenville, SC
Tanner Huyck
Clemson University, SC

Background: The “Moving On” Oncology Rehabilitation program is a free 12-week exercise program for cancer survivors located at the Prisma Health Cancer Institute Center for Integrative Oncology & Survivorship. Participants attend a nurse- and trainer-led exercise program 3 days a week for an hour. During this hour participants perform cardio, strength training, and stretching. The program follows the American College of Sports Medicine guidelines for exercise. Survivors first meet with an oncology rehab nurse practitioner for assessment and approval to participate in the program. The program offers free lunar iDXA body composition analysis to participants for personal education on muscle and fat distribution.

Objectives: Major objectives of the program include decreasing cancer treatment-related fatigue and fat mass while increasing lean mass for cancer survivors.

Methods: To measure changes in total mass, fat mass, lean mass, and visceral adipose tissue (VAT), participants completed dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scans using a GE Lunar iDXA at baseline and upon completion of the program. Participants completed the Brief Fatigue Inventory (BFI) questionnaire before and after the program, measuring the current state of fatigue. Analyses were conducted to understand differences from baseline to post program for body composition and fatigue using a t test: paired 2 sample for means.

Results: The analysis included 149 participants who completed the program, pre- and post-DXA scans, and both BFIs. Significant differences in total mass were not observed (pre- 183.82 lb; post- 183.53 lb). Interestingly, significance was observed for fat mass (pre- 75.06 lb; post- 73.53 lb; P <.05), VAT mass (pre- 3.27 lb; post- 3.15 lb; P <.05), lean mass (pre- 102.99 lb; post- 104.18 lb; P <.0001), and fatigue scores (pre- 3.57; post- 1.54; P <.0001).

Conclusions: These results support that historic end points utilizing weight and body mass index may be misleading in evaluating a program’s efficacy. Utilizing technology to examine fat mass and lean mass can create more accurate metrics for evaluating oncology rehab programs. Significant reductions in fatigue highlight the positive impact of oncology rehab programs.

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Last modified: August 10, 2023

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