1. Supervised exercise interventions significantly improved muscle strength, daily physical activity, body mass index, and fatigue; though there was no statistically significant improvement in quality of life.
2. The mean retention rate and adherence to the exercise interventions were 87%.
Evidence Rating Level: 2 (Good)
Childhood cancer survivors (CCs) are at risk of facing complications related to their underlying condition or treatment. In adult patients, the addition of supervised exercise interventions has been shown to not only reduce cancer-related sequelae but also improve quality of life. Since evidence for exercise is lacking in the CCSs, the objective of the present systematic review and meta-analysis was to determine the effectiveness of exercise interventions on health outcomes in CCs and determine the retention, adherence rate, and safety of these interventions.
Of 8783 identified records, 9 (n=642) were included in the systematic review and 7 (n=551) in the meta-analysis from database inception to May 2022. Studies were included if participants had a cancer diagnosis and underwent a supervised exercise intervention by medical staff which was compared to placebo or usual care. Studies were excluded if they reported telephone monitoring, activity monitoring, or manual therapy. Study quality was assessed using the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions. Statistical analysis was performed using either a fixed-effect model or random effects (if heterogeneity was substantial). The results demonstrated that supervised exercise interventions significantly improved muscle strength, daily physical activity, body mass index, and fatigue, though there was no statistically significant improvement in quality of life. Furthermore, the mean retention rate and adherence to the exercise interventions were 87%
Despite this, the study was limited by the heterogeneity within studies which has introduced a moderate risk of bias. However, the present study has demonstrated the safety and potential for supervised exercise to improve the physical condition of CCs during and after treatment.
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