Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine


Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968
       SCImago 2016     SJR: 0.981   Cites per Doc. 2-Year: 2.04    3-Year: 2.17
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©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2016) 15, 592 - 600
Research article
A Feasibility Study Related To Inactive Cancer Survivors Compared with Non-Cancer Controls during Aerobic Exercise Training
Scott N. Drum1,, Riggs J. Klika2, Susan D. Carter3, Lisa K. Sprod4, Lars Donath1,5

1 School of Health and Human Performance, Northern Michigan University, Marquette, MI
2 Executive Director Cancer Survivor Center, Aspen, CO, and Visiting Professor of Sports Medicine, Pepperdine University, Malibu, CA
3 Surgical Gynocologist, Rocky Mountain Cancer Rehabilitation Institute, Northern Colorado Medical Center, Greeley, CO
4 School of Health and Applied Human Sciences, University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Wilmington, NC
5 Department of Sport, Exercise and Health, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland

Scott N. Drum
✉ 1401 Presque Isle Ave. / PEIF 201F, Marquette, MI, USA

03-11-2015 -- Accepted: 16-08-2016 --
Published (online): 01-12-2016


Cancer survivors (CA) tend to demonstrate metabolic, cardiac, and ventilatory alterations due to previous chemotherapy and radiation that may impair adaptability following aerobic exercise training. Exercise training adaptations of CA finished with primary treatment compared to non-cancer participants (NC) have not yet been extensively elucidated. Thus, the present study compared physiologic responses of CA versus NC following a low-to-moderate intensity, 8-wk aerobic training program. Thirty-seven previously sedentary participants (CA: n = 14, 12 females; NC: n = 23, 19 females) with no heart or metabolic disease did not differ in age, height, weight, and body mass index (51 ± 2 y, 1.66 ± 0.02 m, 83.8 ± 3.2 kg, and 30.5 ± 1 kg·m-2). Each participant underwent baseline, 3-, 6-, and 8-wk VO2peak treadmill testing using the USAFSAM protocol and walked on a treadmill three times per week at 80-90% of ventilatory threshold (VT) for approximately 40-min·session-1. Variables obtained on the VO2peak tests included: HR at stage 2 (HR@stage2), rating of perceived exertion at stage 2 (RPE@stage2), lactate threshold (LT), ventilatory threshold (VT), salivary cortisol at 30-min post VO2peak test (SC@30-minPost),VO2peak level, time of fatigue (TOF), and maximal heart rate (HRmax). NC had significantly (p < 0.05) higher VO2peak, TOF, and HRmax at baseline, 3- and 6-wks of training but not at 8-wks. There were no differences between groups on RPE@stage2 except at baseline (p < 0.05). A significant (p < 0.05) interaction was observed only for RPE@stage2 with CA rating their initial RPE significantly greater at baseline versus NC. CA notably improved submaximal and maximal exercise capacity during 8 weeks of aerobic training and did not show altered adaptability compared to NC. We suggest prescribing aerobic exercise training at low/moderate intensity and duration initially, with progressive increases in duration and intensity after approximately 8-weeks. If available and supported, we advise clinicians to utilize submaximal threshold concepts obtained from cardiopulmonary exercise testing to prescribe more precise aerobic exercise training parameters.

Key words: Ventilatory threshold, rating of perceived exertion, VO2peak, cortisol
Key Points
Cancer survivors will most likely begin an exercise program after cancer therapy with a diminished functional capacity whereby baseline cardiopulmonary testing is recommended.
By about 8-weeks of individualized aerobic exercise training at 80-90% of VT, cancer survivors’ functional capacity improves similar to non-cancer exercisers.
Fine tuning the aerobic exercise prescription in cancer survivors, especially after 8-weeks of training, should be an on-going process and discussion.



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