gms | German Medical Science

27th German Cancer Congress Berlin 2006

German Cancer Society (Frankfurt/M.)

22. - 26.03.2006, Berlin

Randomized controlled trial of the feasibility and effects of a structural training program in the rehabilitation of breast cancer patients with fatigue

Meeting Abstract

  • corresponding author presenting/speaker Marie Elsner von der Malsburg - Sonnenbergklinik Bad Soden-Allendorf, Deutschland
  • Manfred Heim - Sonnenbergklinik Bad Soden-Allendorf
  • Andree Niklas - Institut für Sportwissenschaften, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen

27. Deutscher Krebskongress. Berlin, 22.-26.03.2006. Düsseldorf, Köln: German Medical Science; 2006. DocPO031

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Published: March 20, 2006

© 2006 Elsner von der Malsburg et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



Background: Fatigue is one of the most frequent problems for cancer patients. A large body of evidence documents the positive effects of physical activity in the rehabilitation of cancer patients. Exercise may reduce cancer-related fatigue and improve the performance status. In a randomized controlled trial, a structural program will be evaluated regarding the effects of fatigue and quality of life. The program consists of exercises for muscle strength and anaerobic capacity.

Patients and Methods: 50 breast cancer patients with fatigue symptoms will be asked to complete four different questionnaires at three different points in time: t1: beginning of rehabilitation, t2: end of rehabilitation, t3: 3 months after t2. In order to measure the fatigue level we use a Fatigue-LASA as screening instrument. Other instruments used are the HADS-D, the MFI, the FACIT-F and questions about physical activity. 25 of 50 patients (exercise group) train the program during the 3 weeks in the clinic of rehabilitation and 3 months after the rehabilitation. They have to document training time and number of exercises. 25 patients who do not train the program serve as a control group. Exercise tests are supposed to measure changes in the anaerobic capacity (Harvard Step Test) and muscle strength (Digimax Muskelfunktionstest) at point t1 and t2. Differences in fitness level are expected.

First Results: In first results we observed a significant improvement for depression and anxiety scores and fatigue and health-related quality of life scores at t2. With younger patients the motivation to participate in the study is specially high. Because of improvements in coordination, scores for muscle strength and anaerobic capacity advance a lot during the first three weeks. The program is well accepted and represents a help for orientation and motivation for physical activity after the rehabilitation.

Conclusions: The fist results show that the advice to rest and downregulate the daily activities is often the wrong approach to avoid fatigue. We hope that the tested daily training program can be used as a guideline for patients and will reduce symptoms of fatigue.