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Br J Cancer. 2008 Jul 8;99(1):30-6. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6604433. Epub 2008 Jun 24.

Long-term follow-up after cancer rehabilitation using high-intensity resistance training: persistent improvement of physical performance and quality of life.

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Department of Sports Medicine, Máxima Medical Centre, Veldhoven, The Netherlands.


The short-term beneficial effects of physical rehabilitation programmes after cancer treatment have been described. However, little is known regarding the long-term effects. The purpose of this study was to investigate the long-term effects of high-intensity resistance training compared with traditional recovery. A total of 68 cancer survivors who completed an 18-week resistance training programme were followed for 1 year. During the 1-year follow-up, 19 patients dropped out (14 due to recurrence of cancer). The remaining 49 patients of the intervention group were compared with a group of 22 patients treated with chemotherapy in the same period but not participating in any rehabilitation programme. Outcome measures were muscle strength, cardiopulmonary function, fatigue, and health-related quality of life. One year after completion of the rehabilitation programme, the outcome measures in the intervention group were still at the same level as immediately after rehabilitation. Muscle strength at 1 year was significantly higher in patients who completed the resistance training programme than in the comparison group. High-intensity resistance training has persistent effects on muscle strength, cardiopulmonary function, quality of life, and fatigue. Rehabilitation programmes for patients treated with chemotherapy with a curative intention should include high-intensity resistance training in their programme.

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