UNC Seeks Cancer Patients for Exercise Study

Chris Repka is leading the study investigating the effect of an exercise program on cancer survivors.

University of Northern Colorado researchers are seeking cancer survivors who have just recently completed radiation or chemotherapy to participate in an exercise intervention study at the Rocky Mountain Cancer Rehabilitation Institute (RMCRI).

The study is investigating the effect of an exercise program on aerobic fitness, cancer-related fatigue and blood markers of oxidative stress, an indicator of cellular damage.

Eligible participants will be assessed for physical fitness and will have blood drawn once before and after the 12-week study. Individuals are needed for both exercise and non-exercise groups. The exercise group will be supervised for three one-hour exercise sessions a week while those in the control group will continue usual care during the 12 weeks. There is no cost associated with participation. If desired, participants from both groups will be provided with a new exercise plan and an additional three months of supervised exercise sessions following the study.

Full details are available at http://www.unco.edu/rmcri/participate_study.html

To be eligible, participants must be 18-79 year-old, non-smoking, cancer survivors who have completed radiation or chemotherapy within the previous five weeks and are not currently engaged in a structured exercise program. The researchers are seeking a total of 20 people.

UNC researchers include Reid Hayward, RMCRI director, and Chris Repka, research associate at RMCRI and the School of Sport and Exercise Science. Interested participants should contact the study coordinator, Repka, at (908) 419-2767, or christopher.repka@unco.edu.

"The biggest hurdle we're facing with this study is recruiting potential participants within that short time frame following the end of treatment," says Repka. "Often, the further out of treatment cancer patients are, the more they look like their apparently healthy peers. While this is a good thing, it also makes it harder to interpret physiological changes associated with exercise."


RMCRI was founded in 1996 with the purpose of providing exercise interventions for cancer survivors. Years of cancer rehabilitation research indicate that exercise is generally beneficial for cancer survivors both during and following treatment, but the underlying physiological mechanisms for these positive effects have not been characterized at this point. It has been theorized that exercise may protect health tissues from the damaging side effects of radiation and chemotherapy, without conferring similar protection to cancer cells. The researchers are measuring blood markers of oxidative stress, or free radical damage, to evaluate their potential role in the reduction of treatment-associated side effects following exercise training.

For more information, please visit: http://www.unco.edu/rmcri/