Although lung cancer is a highly prevalent type of cancer, the effects of an inpatient multidisciplinary rehabilitation program on pulmonary function and exercise capacity have never been studied in these patients. Pulmonary function, 6-min walking distance and peak exercise capacity of 10 patients with a severely impaired pulmonary function following treatment of lung cancer were assessed in this pilot study before and after an 8-week inpatient multidisciplinary rehabilitation program. At baseline, patients had a restrictive pulmonary function and an apparent exercise intolerance (median 6-min walking distance: 63.6% predicted; median peak cycling load: 58.5% predicted). Despite the lack of change in median pulmonary function [FEV1: -0.01L, p = 0.5469], functional exercise capacity [145 m; 43.2% of the initial values, p=0.0020] and peak exercise capacity [26 W; 34.4% of the initial values, p = 0.0078] improved significantly compared to baseline. Future trials have to corroborate the present findings. Nevertheless, patients with lung cancer have a clear indication to start a comprehensive rehabilitation program following intensive treatment of their disease. In fact, based on the results of the present pilot study it appears that these patients are good candidates for pulmonary rehabilitation programs.
Spruit, M. A., Janssen, P. P., Willemsen, S. C., Hochstenbag, M. M., & Wouters, E. F. (2006). Exercise capacity before and after an 8-week multidisciplinary inpatient rehabilitation program in lung cancer patients: a pilot study. Lung Cancer, 52(2), 257-260. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lungcan.2006.01.003