Children with cancer and their cardiorespiratory fitness and physical function-the long-term effects of a physical activity program during treatment: a multicenter non-randomized controlled trial

Martin Kaj Fridh*, Peter Schmidt-Andersen, Liv Andrés-Jensen, Troels Thorsteinsson, Peder Skov Wehner, Henrik Hasle, Kjeld Schmiegelow, Hanne Bækgaard Larsen

*Corresponding author af dette arbejde

Abstract

PURPOSE: We aimed to determine the effects of a classmate-supported, supervised, in-hospital physical activity program during treatment primarily on cardiorespiratory fitness and secondarily on physical function.

METHODS: A multicenter non-randomized controlled intervention study including children diagnosed with cancer, 6-18 years at diagnosis treated with chemo-/radiotherapy. The intervention comprised (i) an educational session on cancer in the child's school class; (ii) selection of two "ambassadors"-classmates who were co-admitted, supporting the child's everyday hospital life; and (iii) supervised in-hospital physical activity from diagnosis and throughout intensive treatment. One-year post-treatment, physical testing included cardiorespiratory fitness (primary outcome), Sit-to-Stand test, Timed-Up-and-Go, and Handgrip Strength.

RESULTS: The intervention group included 75 of 120 children (61% boys, 13.4 ± 3.1 years); the control groups included 33 of 58 children with cancer (58% boys, 13.5 ± 2.5 years), and 94 age- and sex-matched children without a cancer history. One-year post-treatment, cardiorespiratory fitness tended to be higher in the intervention group (37.0 ± 6.0 mL/kg/min) than in the patient control group with cancer (32.3 ± 9.7 mL/kg/min) (mean difference 4.7 [0.4 to 9.1], p = 0.034). The intervention group performed better in the secondary outcomes. Compared with community controls, both patient groups had lower cardiorespiratory fitness. The patient control group had lower Sit-to-Stand, Timed Up and Go, and Handgrip Strength, while the intervention group had strength comparable to that of the community controls.

CONCLUSIONS: Peer-supported, supervised, in-hospital physical activity during treatment may improve cardiorespiratory fitness and muscle strength 1-year post-treatment in children with cancer; however, survivors continue to have lower cardiorespiratory fitness than community controls.

IMPLICATIONS FOR CANCER SURVIVORS: Children with cancer may benefit from in-hospital physical activity in improving long-term cardiorespiratory fitness and muscle strength.

OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftJournal of cancer survivorship : research and practice
ISSN1932-2259
DOI
StatusE-pub ahead of print - 6 dec. 2023

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