Women who have survived ovarian cancer may find that aerobic exercise reduces their pain.

Peripheral neuropathy is a common complication of chemotherapy for ovarian cancer patients and can result in pain and numbness for months or even years.

According to a recent study, six months of aerobic exercise may help to lessen this unfavorable side effect.

The findings from this trial grasp the potential to change treatment for ovarian cancer those who survived through providing a new approach to managing CIPN [chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy],” said Leah Ferrucci, the senior study author and an assistant professor of epidemiology at the Yale School of Public Health and a staff member of Yale Cancer Center.

According to Ferrucci in a Yale news release, “These results offer strong proof that a structured, a home-based aerobic exercise program may significantly enhance CIPN in ovarian cancer survivors who have finished chemotherapy.”

The study’s organized aerobic exercise intervention had previously been shown to enhance quality of life in terms of physical health. The investigators assessed the effects of the exercise program and contrasted them to a control group of patients who were not enrolled in the exercise program for this new study on ovarian cancer patients who received chemotherapy.

At the end of the six-month program, patients in the exercise intervention arm of the research reported 1.3 points fewer CIPN symptoms. The control group, which just got weekly phone calls with health education, had a minorly increase in CPIN symptoms.

Participants who experienced CIPN symptoms when they entered in the trial saw significantly greater benefits from aerobic activity. The CIPN severity decreased by 2 points in this subgroup.The U.S. National Cancer Institute, the U.S. National Center for Advancing Translational Science, and the Yale Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center provided funding for the study, which was released on August 1 in the journal JAMA Network Open.

Anlan Cao, a doctoral student at the Yale School of Public Health and the study’s first author, said in a press release that including referrals to exercise intervention programs in standard oncology care “could be a game-changer, reducing CIPN symptoms and improving the quality of life for patients with ovarian cancer.”Although more research is required to confirm these encouraging findings in patients with ovarian cancer and other cancer types, aerobic exercise may provide cancer survivors with a more effective way to address their neuropathy symptoms, according to Cao.

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