Physical, psycho-social interventions in advanced lung cancer patients improve functional capacity

Physical exercise and psycho-social interventions in patients with advanced stage lung cancer improved functional capacity, which may be linked to quality of life benefits. Dr. Quist of the University of Copenhagen in Denmark presented these findings today at the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) 18th World Conference on Lung Cancer (WCLC) in Yokohama, Japan.

Dr. Quist and his team recognized the importance of identifying key issues for advanced lung cancer patients in assessing their quality of life. Previous studies have shown that these patients experience a decline in functional capacity after they are diagnosed and during treatment. While many medical professionals believe relaxing and resting is the best intervention for advanced lung cancer patients, the researchers set out to determine if exercise interventions would lead to increased functional capacity along with improved quality of life.

The researchers randomized 218 eligible adult patients with advanced stage lung cancer who were undergoing chemotherapy into two study groups. The control group received standard care, while the intervention group underwent a 12-week physical and psycho-social intervention, which included cardiovascular and strength training. Aerobic capacity, functional capacity and quality of life were measured at baseline and at 12 weeks.

The exercise group was found to have improved functional capacity at the conclusion of the intervention, although there was no group difference in these measures. Additionally, the control group experienced no change in quality of life while the intervention group reported a significant improvement in quality of life, which may be linked to the improved functionality.

"Improving or maintaining functional capacity means being able to take on activities of daily living and not burdening caregivers, which is what the majority of patients fear," said Dr. Quist. "In this way, being as active as possible for as long as possible can reduce the potential burden and help patients experience a better quality of life."

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