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Curr Treat Options Oncol. 2004 Feb;5(1):75-82.

Cardiopulmonary rehabilitation after treatment for lung cancer.

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Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicine, 601 South Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21230, USA.


Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death in women and men in the United States. As of 1987, lung cancer deaths in women exceeded deaths caused by breast cancer. Despite years of research and improvements in surgical, chemotherapeutic, and radiation treatments, this fact remains unchanged. Equally dismal is that the expected 5-year survival rate for all patients with lung cancer is 15%. Although hidden in this number is improved survival for many patients who have early disease, it still translates into significant morbidity and early mortality for many patients. Although prevention is key, optimizing the care of these patients with lung cancer is also paramount. Cardiopulmonary rehabilitation programs have been shown to be effective in treating patients with chronic heart and lung diseases, among other illnesses, regardless of prerehabilitation functioning. Not only do morbidity and mortality from cancer hinge directly on premorbid functioning, health, and status, but functional status as a measure of baseline health is a reliable prognostic indicator for patients with lung cancer. As a result, including a program of exercise in any treatment regimen for cancer is sensible. However, rehabilitation in patients with lung cancer has not been studied well. Data on rehabilitation in patients with other cancers and illnesses (eg, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) are clear in the beneficial effects of supervised exercise on quality of life (QOL). To assess the role of cardiopulmonary rehabilitation in patients with lung cancer undergoing treatment, it is necessary to meld studies regarding patients with noncancerous conditions with studies addressing rehabilitation in patients with cancer. This fusion of information demonstrates that rehabilitation results in significant improvements in QOL in patients who participate, regardless of the disease in question. Although QOL may not always have been an obvious endpoint for treating patients with lung cancer, it is apparent from studies of the patients themselves that an improved QOL is far more important than other goals of therapy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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