Acute Effects of Aerobic Exercise and Relaxation Training on Fatigue in Breast Cancer Survivors: A Feasibility Trial

Author: Jason Cohen1, Wendy A Rogers1, Steven Petruzzello1, Linda Trinh2, Sean P Mullen1,3,4
Author Information:
1 Department of Kinesiology & Community Health, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL, USA.
2 Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education,University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
3 Beckman Institute for Advanced Science & Technology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL, USA.
4 Illinois Informatics Institute, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL, USA.
Conference/Journal: Psychooncology
Date published: 2020 Oct 3
Other: Special Notes: doi: 10.1002/pon.5561. , Word Count: 218

This three-armed randomized controlled feasibility trial tested the acceptability and acute effects of aerobic exercise and technology-guided mindfulness training (relative to standalone interventions) on cancer-related fatigue among breast cancer survivors (BCS).

BCS recruited from Central Illinois completed pre-and post-testing using established measures and were randomized to one of three groups (combined aerobic exercise with guided-mindfulness relaxation, aerobic exercise only, relaxation only), conducted in three 90-minute sessions over the course of seven days in a fitness room and research office on a university campus.

We enrolled 40 BCS (Mage = 57.33 ± 8.75), MBMI = 27.38 ± 5.27, Mfatigue = 4.56 ± 1.81 as measured by the Piper Fatigue Scale). More favorable post-intervention evaluations were reported by the combined group, compared to aerobic exercise or relaxation only (p < 0.05). Reductions in fatigue favoring the combined group (p = 0.05) showed a modest effect size (Cohen's d = 0.91) compared to aerobic exercise only.

These findings provide preliminary evidence for the feasibility of combining evidence-based techniques to address fatigue among BCS. The combined approach, incorporating mobile health technology, presents an efficacious and well-received design. If replicated in longer trials, the approach could provide a promising opportunity to deliver broad-reaching interventions for improved outcomes in BCS. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Aerobic Exericse; Breast Cancer; Cancer; Fatigue; Feasibility; Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction; Psycho-Oncology; Relaxation; Survivorship; Technology.

PMID: 33010183 DOI: 10.1002/pon.5561