Safety, feasibility and effects of an individualised walking intervention for women undergoing chemotherapy for ovarian cancer : a pilot study

Newton, Melissa J., Hayes, Sandi, Janda, Monika, Webb, Penny, Obermair, Andreas, Eakin, Elizabeth, Wyld, David, Gordon, Louisa, & Beesley, Vanessa L. (2011) Safety, feasibility and effects of an individualised walking intervention for women undergoing chemotherapy for ovarian cancer : a pilot study. BMC Cancer, 11(389).

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Background: Exercise interventions during adjuvant cancer therapy have been shown to increase functional capacity, relieve fatigue and distress and may assist rates of chemotherapy completion. These studies have been limited to breast, gastric and mixed cancer groups and it is not yet known if a similar intervention is even feasible among women with ovarian cancer. We aimed to assess safety, feasibility and potential effect of a walking intervention in women undergoing chemotherapy for ovarian cancer.

Methods: Women newly diagnosed with ovarian cancer were recruited to participate in an individualised walking intervention throughout chemotherapy and were assessed pre-and post-intervention. Feasibility measures included session adherence, compliance with exercise physiologist prescribed walking targets and self-reported program acceptability. Changes in objective physical functioning (6 minute walk test), self-reported distress (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale), symptoms (Memorial Symptom Assessment Scale - Physical) and quality of life (Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy - Ovarian) were calculated, and chemotherapy completion and adverse intervention effects recorded.

Results: Seventeen women were enrolled (63% recruitment rate). Mean age was 60 years (SD = 8 years), 88% were diagnosed with FIGO stage III or IV disease, 14 women underwent adjuvant and three neo-adjuvant chemotherapy. On average, women adhered to > 80% of their intervention sessions and complied with 76% of their walking targets, with the majority walking four days a week at moderate intensity for 30 minutes per session. Meaningful improvements were found in physical functioning, physical symptoms, physical well-being and ovarian cancerspecific quality of life. Most women (76%) completed ≥85% of their planned chemotherapy dose. There were no withdrawals or serious adverse events and all women reported the program as being helpful.

Conclusions: These positive preliminary results suggest that this walking intervention for women receiving chemotherapy for ovarian cancer is safe, feasible and acceptable and could be used in development of future work. Trial registration: ACTRN12609000252213

Impact and interest:

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15 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 47562
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Ovarian neoplasm, Exercise, Chemotherapy, Feasibility
DOI: 10.1186/1471-2407-11-389
ISSN: 1471-2407
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > NURSING (111000)
Divisions: Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Copyright Owner: © 2011 Newton et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
Copyright Statement: This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in
any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Deposited On: 08 Dec 2011 22:53
Last Modified: 28 Aug 2014 01:56

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