Walking Program Improved Physical Function, But Not Fatigue, After RT for Breast Cancer

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In this phase 2 study, researchers randomly assigned 54 patients to either the WWE program or the UC arm.
In this phase 2 study, researchers randomly assigned 54 patients to either the WWE program or the UC arm.
The following article features coverage from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) 2018 meeting. Click here to read more of Oncology Nurse Advisor's conference coverage.

The Walk With Ease (WWE) exercise intervention program did not improve fatigue symptoms among women with breast cancer who underwent adjuvant radiotherapy (RT) compared with usual care (UC), according to a poster presented at the 2018 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting. However, increased walking may improve fatigue and physical functioning. 

For this multicenter phase 2 study, researchers randomly assigned 54 patients older than 65 years to the WWE program or the UC arm. In the UC arm, patients received a one-page explanation of how exercise may improve fatigue, and in the WWE arm patients received a WWE workbook and a printed walking log that they were asked to complete and return at the end of RT and at follow-up. 

Patients were given the Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB) to assess physical function, as well as other questionnaires to evaluate fatigue, physical function, and other fatigue related symptoms at baseline, at the last week of RT, and at 1-month follow-up. 

Results showed that there were no significant differences in fatigue as measured by the Total Disruption Index and Fatigue Symptom Index between patients in the WWE arm and UC arm. 

Further analysis, however, demonstrated that over time a decrease in fatigue was associated with increased walking.  The amount of walking per week increased from 45 minutes/week at baseline to 432 minutes/week at the end of RT, and a statistically significant improvement in physical function, which was sustained even until follow-up, was observed in both treatment arms. 

Although the WWE intervention did not improve fatigue in this population, the authors concluded that “women in both arms increased their walking and had improved physical function during and following RT. Increased walking was statistically associated with lower fatigue scores during and after radiotherapy in this older group of women with breast cancer.”

Reference

VanderWalde NA, Martin MY, Kocak M, et al. Phase 2 randomized study of a walking intervention for radiation-related fatigue among older breast cancer patients receiving radiation.Poster presented at: 2018 ASCO Annual Meeting; June 1-5, 2018; Chicago, IL.

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