The role of physical activity and physical fitness in postcancer fatigue: a randomized controlled trial

  • Prinsen H
  • Bleijenberg G
  • Heijmen L
 et al. 
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Abstract

PURPOSE: Patients suffering from postcancer fatigue have both an inferior
physical activity and physical fitness compared to non-fatigued cancer
survivors. The aims of this study were (1) to examine the effect
of cognitive behavior therapy, an effective treatment for postcancer
fatigue, on physical activity and physical fitness and (2) to examine
whether the effect of cognitive behavior therapy on postcancer fatigue
is mediated by physical activity and/or physical fitness. METHODS:
Severely fatigued cancer survivors were randomly assigned to either
the intervention (cognitive behavior therapy) or the waiting list
condition. After assigning 23 patients in the intervention condition
and 14 patients in the waiting list condition, they were assessed
both at baseline and 6 months later. Physical activity was assessed
via actigraphy and physical fitness was assessed by a maximal exercise
test. A nonparametric bootstrap approach was used to test the statistical
significance of the mediation effects. RESULTS: A significant increase
in physical activity was observed in the intervention group from
baseline to follow-up, whereas physical activity did not change from
baseline to follow-up in the waiting list group. Physical fitness
did not significantly change after cognitive behavior therapy or
after 6 months of waiting for therapy. Fatigue decreased more significantly
in the intervention group than in the waiting list group. The mediation
hypotheses were rejected. CONCLUSIONS: Cognitive behavior therapy
effectively reduced postcancer fatigue and increased physical activity
but did not change physical fitness. The effect of cognitive behavior
therapy on postcancer fatigue is not mediated by a change in physical
activity or physical fitness.

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Authors

  • H Prinsen

  • G Bleijenberg

  • L Heijmen

  • M J Zwarts

  • J W H Leer

  • A Heerschap

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