Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 26, Issue 6, pp 1861–1869 | Cite as

Evaluation of the effects of a clinically implemented exercise program on physical fitness, fatigue, and depression in cancer survivors

  • Ryan J. MarkerEmail author
  • Emily Cox-Martin
  • Catherine M. Jankowski
  • W. Thomas Purcell
  • John C. Peters
Original Article



Despite national recommendations, exercise programs are still not clinically implemented as standard of care for cancer survivors. This investigation examined the effects of a clinically implemented and personalized exercise program on physical fitness, fatigue, and depression in a diverse population of cancer survivors. The association of various participant characteristics on program performance was also examined.


Data were collected from 170 cancer survivors who had participated in a clinical exercise program. Any cancer type was included and survivors were either undergoing medical treatment or had completed treatment (< 6 months prior to program initiation). Baseline and post program measures of estimated VO2peak, grip strength, fatigue, and depression were compared in survivors who completed the program follow-up. Multiple regressions were performed to investigate the association of age, gender, body mass index (BMI), and medical treatment status on baseline and change scores in outcome measures, as well as program adherence.


All measures improved in participants who completed the program (p < 0.01). Age, gender, and BMI were associated with baseline measures of estimated VO2peak and grip strength (p < 0.01), and age was inversely associated with baseline fatigue (p = 0.02). Only BMI was inversely associated with change in estimated VO2peak (p < 0.01). No participant characteristics or baseline measures were predictive of program adherence (p > 0.05).


This investigation provides evidence that a personalized, clinical exercise program can be effective at improving physical fitness, fatigue, and depression in a diverse population of cancer survivors.


Oncology Rehabilitation Personalized exercise Survivorship Cancer Exercise 



The authors would like to thank Nicole Klochak, Rebecca Ruiz, and Rebecca Stark for their assistance with participant scheduling, enrollment, assessment, exercise training, and data collection.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ryan J. Marker
    • 1
    Email author
  • Emily Cox-Martin
    • 2
  • Catherine M. Jankowski
    • 3
  • W. Thomas Purcell
    • 2
  • John C. Peters
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Physical Therapy, School of Health Sciences and Human PerformanceIthaca CollegeIthacaUSA
  2. 2.Division of Medical Oncology, School of MedicineUniversity of Colorado Anschutz Medical CampusAuroraUSA
  3. 3.College of NursingUniversity of Colorado Anschutz Medical CampusAuroraUSA
  4. 4.Anschutz Health and Wellness Center, School of MedicineUniversity of Colorado Anschutz Medical CampusAuroraUSA

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