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Preoperative physical exercise is emerging as a growing field of research globally. There are still challenges in recruiting vulnerable older people, and time constraints in preoperative cancer care to consider. We therefore evaluated the feasibility of short-term supervised home-based exercise in older people prior to colorectal cancer surgery. This feasibility study was conducted between September 2016 and June 2018. People ≥70 years scheduled for colorectal cancer surgery were recruited and randomized to an intervention group receiving supervised home-based physical exercise at a high level of estimated exertion or a standard care group following the standard preoperative path. The exercise (respiratory, strength, and aerobic) consisted of 2-3 supervised sessions a week in the participants' homes, for at least 2-3 weeks or until surgery, and a self-administered exercise program in between. The primary outcome was process feasibility, including aspects specifically related to recruitment rate, compliance to the intervention, and acceptability. The secondary outcome was scientific feasibility including treatment safety, description of dose level and response, and estimation of treatment results. Twenty-three participants were included (recruitment rate 35%). A median of 6 supervised sessions was conducted over a 17-day exercise period. Compliance with the supervised sessions was 97%, and participants found the intervention acceptable. Concerning the self-administered exercise, a median of 19 inspiratory muscle training, 6 functional strength, and 8.5 aerobic sessions were reported. Challenges reported by program instructors were time constraints and difficulties in achieving high exercise intensities on the Borg CR-10 scale. A statistically significant between-group difference was only found in inspiratory muscle strength, favoring the intervention group (p<0.01). A short-term preoperative supervised home-based physical exercise intervention can be conducted, with respect to compliance and acceptability, in older people with similar physical status as in this study prior to colorectal cancer surgery. However, modifications are warranted with respect to improving recruitment rates and achieving planned intensity levels prior to conducting a definitive trial.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: PloS one
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