There is increasing recognition for the need to assist advanced and recurrent cancer patients during treatment. Recent literature into advanced breast cancer/primary ovarian cancer suggests exercise may be beneficial in reducing physiological and psychological deterioration, whilst maintaining Quality of Life (QoL).
This study aims to assess the feasibility of a 12 week exercise intervention for women with recurrent ovarian cancer. The primary outcome was adherence to a 90 minute weekly exercise target and QoL. Secondary outcomes included physiological and psychological side-effects of treatment.
Women undergoing chemotherapy for recurrent ovarian cancer were recruited from the Royal Hospital for Women and the UNSW Lifestyle Clinic. Baseline assessments of n=11 subjects (73% recruitment rate) included mean age of 55±10 years, FIGO stage 3.1±0.7 at first diagnosis and 3.1±2.8 months since most recent recurrence. Subjects demonstrated a BMI = 23.1±3.7, QoL = 93.3±23.8 (FACT-O), fatigue = 2.8± 3.1 (SPHERE-SOMA), sleep quality = 8.3±4.2 (global PSQI) and 83.9±8.5% efficiency (Actigraph), aerobic capacity = 26.8±6.3 mL/kg/min (submaximal VO2), mental health = 36.2±11.7 (SF-36), upper and lower body strength = 23.1±3.4kg and 33.3±9.1kg respectively (10RM) - with re-assessments at 12 and 24 weeks. Whilst we expect to see maintained scores at reassessment, the majority of these baseline measurements scored poor compared to similar aged healthy women. An individualised exercise program prescribed by accredited exercise physiologists including aerobic, resistance, balance and core exercises at 90+ minutes/week. Intensity, type and duration of exercise were recorded in a weekly diary – consisting of clinic and home-based activity. Adherence is high with participants meeting exercise targets 90% of the time, with mean duration of 185±83 minutes/week. Compliance to returning the weekly exercise diaries is 67%.
There have been no reported adverse affects from women undergoing chemotherapy treatment being physically active. Preliminary stages of the trial demonstrates positive signs of feasibility.