Objective: Assessment of feasibility and effects of an exercise training programme in patients following cystectomy due to urinary bladder cancer.
Design: Single-blind, pilot, randomized controlled trial.
Setting: University hospital, Sweden.
Subjects: Eighteen patients (64-78 years), of 89 suitable, cystectomized due to urinary bladder cancer, were randomized after hospital discharge to intervention or control.
Interventions: The 12-week exercise programme included group exercise training twice a week and daily walks. The control group received only standardized information at discharge.
Main outcome measures: Trial eligibility and compliance to inclusion were registered. Assessments of functional capacity, balance, lower body strength and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) with SF-36.
Results: Out of 122 patients 89 were eligible, but 64 did not want to participate/were not invited. Twenty-five patients were included, but 7 dropped out before randomization. Eighteen patients were randomized to intervention or control. Thirteen patients completed the training period. The intervention group increased walking distance more than the control group, 109 m (75-177) compared to 62 m (36-119) (P = 0.013), and role physical domain in SF-36 more than the control group (P = 0.031). Ten patients were evaluated one year postoperatively. The intervention group had continued increasing walking distance, 20 m (19-36), whereas the control group had shortened the distance -15.5 m (-43 to -5) (P = 0.010).
Conclusions: A 12-week group exercise training programme was not feasible for most cystectomy patients. However, functional capacity and the role-physical domain in HRQoL increased in the short and long term for patients in the intervention group compared with controls.
Keywords: Urinary bladder cancer; exercise; radical cystectomy.