Publication Date

8-9-2005

Degree Type

Master's Project

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Nursing

First Advisor

Susan O. Murphy

Second Advisor

Mary L. Thomas

Abstract

Fatigue affects 60-100% of all cancer patients, is difficult to manage, and can have a profound impact on everyday functioning and quality of life. Though seemingly counterintuitive, exercise has emerged as a promising intervention for the management of cancer related fatigue (CRF). Current research predominantly involves individual, home-based exercise programs with few studies exploring other modes of exercise delivery. The purpose of this pilot study was to determine if participation in a structured group exercise program (SGEP) was a feasible intervention for adult oncology patients receiving cancer treatment and to test the impact of a SGEP on reducing CRF and improving quality of life (QOL). This unique study integrated the known benefits of exercise with the powerful effects of group dynamics in a group of adult oncology patients with mixed cancers, at various stages of treatment. Using a pretest and posttest one-group design, findings showed a significant decrease in bodily pain (p=0.0118); subscale scores for physical role, vitality, and social function increased, but did not yield statistical significance. No difference was found in reported fatigue. A post-program questionnaire identified themes of support, learning from shared information, and usefulness of having an exercise program serve concurrently as an informal support group. The findings of this pilot study provide encouraging data that suggests a SGEP is feasible, safe, and well tolerated by adult oncology patients receiving cancer treatment, and may have positive effects on CRF and QOL.

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