This initial feasibility and proof of concept study focuses on maximizing pancreatic cancer survivors’ fitness and physical function in a brief period, the 2-3 weeks available prior to surgical resection, using a home-based exercise program with all equipment provided, and following nutritional recommendations. Intervention begins when the oncologist determines that the patient is a candidate for pancreaticoduodenectomy, and continues until surgery. Participants in both arms are asked to perform moderate exercise daily, targeting a total of 60 minutes per day by the surgery date, but in bouts as short as a few minutes each, and progressed according to tolerance. Initial prescription is individualized according to the patient’s baseline level of exercise and functional status. Patients record their exercise and wear an accelerometer to track activity if willing. All participants receive follow-up phone calls from an exercise specialist for adherence and assistance with progression. The intervention period ends at the time of surgery.
In this ‘quasi-double blinded’ randomized trial, participants are not told the difference between the two exercise interventions, and randomization to the two treatment arms is stratified by baseline functional status, such that patients deemed to be ‘borderline’ in fitness for surgery are distributed across the groups. Prior chemotherapy exposure is allowed and recorded.
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