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BMC Cancer. 2007 Aug 9;7:154.

Randomised controlled trial of a supervised exercise rehabilitation program for colorectal cancer survivors immediately after chemotherapy: study protocol.

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  • 1School of Human Movement Studies, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.



Colorectal cancer (CRC) diagnosis and the ensuing treatments can have a substantial impact on the physical and psychological health of survivors. As the number of CRC survivors increases, so too does the need to develop viable rehabilitation programs to help these survivors return to good health as quickly as possible. Exercise has the potential to address many of the adverse effects of CRC treatment; however, to date, the role of exercise in the rehabilitation of cancer patients immediately after the completion of treatment has received limited research attention. This paper presents the design of a randomised controlled trial which will evaluate the feasibility and efficacy of a 12-week supervised aerobic exercise program (ImPACT Program) on the physiological and psychological markers of rehabilitation, in addition to biomarkers of standard haematological outcomes and the IGF axis.


Forty CRC patients will be recruited through oncology clinics and randomised to an exercise group or a usual care control group. Baseline assessment will take place within 4 weeks of the patient completing adjuvant chemotherapy treatment. The exercise program for patients in the intervention group will commence a week after the baseline assessment. The program consists of three supervised moderate-intensity aerobic exercise sessions per week for 12 weeks. All participants will have assessments at baseline (0 wks), mid-intervention (6 wks), post-intervention (12 wks) and at a 6-week follow-up (18 wks). Outcome measures include cardio-respiratory fitness, biomarkers associated with health and survival, and indices of fatigue and quality of life. Process measures are participants' acceptability of, adherence to, and compliance with the exercise program, in addition to the safety of the program.


The results of this study will provide valuable insight into the role of supervised exercise in improving life after CRC. Additionally, process analyses will inform the feasibility of implementing the program in a population of CRC patients immediately after completing chemotherapy.



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