Physical exercise during adjuvant chemotherapy for colorectal cancer - a non-randomized feasibility study
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Background Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most common cancer worldwide, and a large proportion of the patients receive adjuvant oxaliplatin-based chemotherapy. Most of these experience chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN), affecting quality of life. Evidence to advise exercise to reduce CIPN is limited. The primary aim of this study was to investigate the feasibility of an exercise intervention and data collection among CRC patients during adjuvant chemotherapy. Material and methods This non-randomized feasibility study included CRC patients admitted to adjuvant chemotherapy to an intervention consisting of supervised aerobic endurance, resistance, and balance exercises twice a week at the hospital in addition to home-based exercise once a week. A physiotherapist supervised the patients, and the intervention lasted throughout the period of adjuvant chemotherapy (12–24 weeks). Participants performed physical tests and filled in questionnaires at baseline, 3, 6, 9, and 12 months. Results and conclusion Nineteen (63%) of 30 invited patients consented. A major barrier to recruit or consent to participation was long travel distance to the hospital. The completion rate of questionnaires and physical tests were near 100%. Seven participants dropped out, five before the intervention started. Median attendance to supervised exercise was 85%. There were no serious adverse events related to the intervention. Except for a planned higher intensity of endurance exercise, we found the intervention feasible and safe. Based on experiences in this study, some adjustments have been made for an upcoming randomized trial, including the supervised exercise taking place close to participants’ homes.