A Michigan State University researcher is helping lung cancer patients reduce fatigue and get more exercise as they transition from the hospital to the home after surgery using an unusual treatment tool: a Nintendo Wii videogame system.
With the support of a $379,741 grant from the National Cancer Institute and Nintendo, MSU College of Nursing researcher Amy Hoffman has designed a rehabilitation program incorporating the use of the Wii-Fit Plus gaming system to low-intensity walking and balancing exercises to combat cancer-related fatigue. SPECIAL: This Small Group of Doctors are Quietly Curing Cancer — Read More.
Hoffman said her program can help boost patient's health, energy and recovery by pre-empting postoperative complications.
She added that the program allows patients to gradually increase their activity levels and set their own exercise goals. A a pilot study of the program demonstrated it can be successful, she said, with patients reporting significant improvements in cancer-related fatigue after 16 weeks of exercise, while most patients also were undergoing chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy.
“The format helps patients focus on the fun in exercise while limiting the focus on the unpleasant symptoms typical of persons after undergoing surgery for lung cancer,” she added. “The virtual exercise intervention was found to be safe and highly acceptable, with patients stating they would recommend the program to others like themselves undergoing surgery for [lung cancer].”