A Literature Review of Exercise in the Pediatric Oncology Population




Nguyen, Peter
Becnel, Kelsey
Salem, Yasser
Liu, Howe


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Title: A Literature Review of Exercise in the Pediatric Oncology Population The advances in treatment of children with cancer have been improved in recent years. This has resulted in an increase in the number of pediatric cancer survivors. Several research studies have shown that the medical condition and its related disorders is associated with impaired growth and development, decreased strength, fatigue, cognitive dysfunction, cardiopulmonary compromise, impaired physical fitness, musculoskeletal complications and decreased quality of life. There is growing evidence that lack of participation in physical activity in children with disability including children with pediatric oncology may result in several negative effects and decrease quality of life. In recent years, several exercise programs have been implemented for pediatric oncology. Purpose The purpose of this literature review is to examine evidence regarding the potential benefits of exercise for children with pediatric oncology. Safety, benefits, and application are addressed. Methods This systematic review identified 18 articles that met our inclusion criteria. Electronic databases used were PubMed, Physiotherapy Evidence Database (PEDro), CINAHL, Rehabilitation Oncology Journal, and Scopus. Key words included pediatric, children, oncology, exercise, and rehabilitation. Our initial search yielded 271 potential articles, which we screened for selection criteria. In total, 751 children with cancer were studied in our final research articles. Results In total, 18 research studies were examined and met our inclusion criteria for aerobic exercise in pediatric oncology patients. Of the included articles, 12 were randomized controlled trials, 2 were quasi-experimental design, 3 were cohort studies, and 1 were clinical trial. Across all 18 studies, 751 children with pediatric oncology were participants. Sample size for each study ranged between 7 and 150 children. All studies showed beneficial effects of exercise training for children with pediatric cancer. Discussion and Conclusion This systematic review adds to the body of literature that supports exercise training for individuals with pediatric oncology. Studies included support the beneficial effects of exercises for children with cancer. Further studies are needed to determine long term effects of any intervention. Available literature on exercise in children with pediatric oncology suggests that there are beneficial effects without adverse outcomes.