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HCI Researchers Launch Study to Improve Exercise in Lung Cancer Patients




As we've talked about before, lung cancer is a particularly deadly form of cancer. In some types of lung cancer, surgery has greatly improved survival. However, surgery can be very hard on a person's body, in several different ways. Patients can experience reduced quality of life, pain, reduced physical activity, decreased lung function, and decreased physical function. Studies have shown that these effects can be lessened by exercise. However, exercise isn't frequently used as a treatment in hospital settings. This is because the exercise routines used in those studies are expensive and hard to use in a busy hospital or clinic. Huntsman Cancer Institute researchers and experts from the University of Utah are beginning a study to test a new exercise routine among 200 patients at HCI. They want to test whether it helps lung cancer patients who've recently had surgery and whether it can feasibly be used in a medical setting.

The team of scientists working on the study include experts in:

  • Cancer
  • Measurement of health behaviors and outcomes
  • Exercise science
  • Psychiatry
  • Physical therapy and athletic training
  • Surgery

Their exercise routine is designed to be cheap and easily used in a medical setting. It uses calisthenics, aerobic exercise, and resistance exercise. It will also be tailored to each patient's individual levels of mobility, motivation, and situations.

Recently, some researchers have argued that cancer rehabilitation should begin to focus on helping cancer survivors to maximize their health, as more and more people survive the diseases. The HCI researchers running this study say their research will be one way of doing just that.

The study is expected to be completed in October 2022.

A recent Australian study showed that few lung cancer patients exercised at optimal levels and that most didn't know exercise could help them. The researcher who ran that study said, "Exercise benefits everyone, not just those who are well, and too few people are aware that gentle aerobic exercise and strength training should be as much a part of treating advanced lung cancer as anti-tumour therapy."



Alfano, C. M., Ganz, P. A., Rowland, J. H., & Hahn, E. E. (2012). Cancer Survivorship and Cancer Rehabilitation: Revitalizing the Link. Journal of Clinical Oncology,30(9), 904-906. doi:10.1200/jco.2011.37.1674

Myesmo. (2018, October 19). New research shows benefits of exercise for first time in advanced lung cancer. Retrieved December 27, 2018, from https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-10/esfm-nrs101918.php 

Nascimento, B. (n.d.).Person wearing orange and gray Nike shoes walking on gray concrete stairs[Photograph]. Unsplash. Retrieved December 27, 2018, from https://unsplash.com/photos/PHIgYUGQPvU. (Originally photographed 2016, October 14)

Precision-exercise-prescription for Lung Cancer Patients Undergoing Surgery: The PEP Study - Full Text View. (n.d.). Retrieved December 27, 2018, from https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03306992 

Ulrich, C. M., Himbert, C., Boucher, K., Wetter, D. W., Hess, R., Kim, J., . . . Varghese, T. K. (2018). Precision-Exercise-Prescription in patients with lung cancer undergoing surgery: Rationale and design of the PEP study trial. BMJ Open,8(12). doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2018-024672

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