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Am J Clin Oncol. 2011 Aug;34(4):350-5. doi: 10.1097/COC.0b013e3181e841ec.

Prospective evaluation of a 12-week walking exercise program and its effect on fatigue in prostate cancer patients undergoing radical external beam radiotherapy.

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Radiation Therapy Program, BC Cancer Agency, Vancouver Island Centre, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.



To evaluate tolerability and compliance to a walking exercise program and its effect on fatigue during and after radical external beam radiation therapy (EBRT) for prostate cancer.


A total of 50 subjects with prostate cancer undergoing EBRT over 6 to 8 weeks were prospectively accrued to an exercise intervention group, matched for age and clinical characteristics to 30 subjects in a historical control group who underwent EBRT with no specific exercise intervention. Starting 1 week before EBRT, exercise participants performed moderate-intensity walking targeting 60% to 70% age-predicted maximum heart rate, at least 20 min/d, 3 d/wk over 12 weeks. The Brief Fatigue Inventory was administered at baseline, mid-EBRT (week 3-4), end-EBRT (week 6-8), and 6 months post-EBRT.


Of 50, 42 (84%) of exercise participants completed the walking program. There were no cardiovascular complications, musculoskeletal injuries, or other adverse events. A total of 89% subjects reported "Good-Excellent" satisfaction during and up to 6 months post-EBRT. Fatigue in control subjects escalated from baseline to end-EBRT, remaining high at 6 months post-EBRT (P[r] = 0.03). In contrast, mean total fatigue scores in exercise subjects were stable from baseline up to 6 months post-EBRT (P = 0.52). Trends for higher fatigue interference with quality of life were observed in the control group as compared with the exercise group.


Moderate-intensity walking exercise during radical EBRT is safe and feasible. The high convenience and satisfaction ratings, in conjunction with the observed fatigue trends, indicate that this activity has the potential to attenuate fatigue and improve quality of life for patients with localized prostate cancer undergoing curative therapy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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