Prehabilitation in Adults Undergoing Cancer Surgery: A Comprehensive Review on Rationale, Methodology, and Measures of Effectiveness

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Curr Oncol


Cancer surgery places a significant burden on a patients' functional status and quality of life. In addition, cancer surgery is fraught with postoperative complications, themselves influenced by a patient's functional status. Prehabilitation is a unimodal or multimodal strategy that aims to increase a patient's functional capacity to reduce postoperative complications and improve postoperative recovery and quality of life. In most cases, it involves exercise, nutrition, and anxiety-reducing interventions. The impact of prehabilitation has been explored in several types of cancer surgery, most commonly colorectal and thoracic. Overall, the existing evidence suggests prehabilitation improves physiological outcomes (e.g., lean body mass, maximal oxygen consumption) as well as clinical outcomes (e.g., postoperative complications, quality of life). Notably, the benefit of prehabilitation is additional to that of enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) programs. While safe, prehabilitation programs require multidisciplinary coordination preoperatively. Despite the existence of numerous systematic reviews and meta-analyses, the certainty of evidence demonstrating the efficacy and safety of prehabilitation is low to moderate, principally due to significant methodological heterogeneity and small sample sizes. There is a need for more large-scale multicenter randomized controlled trials to draw strong clinical recommendations.

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Humans; Neoplasms; Preoperative Exercise; Adult; Postoperative Complications; Quality of Life; Preoperative Care

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