Bewegung & Krebs

Physical Intervention Program for Childhood Cancer Patients under Chemo- and/or Radiation Therapy

In cooperation with the Children’s Hospital (Heidelberg University Hospital), the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and the Institute of Sports and Sport Science (Heidelberg University).

Other sites/cooperation

Faculty of Sport Science, Leipzig University and Department of Pediatric- and Gynecologic Medicine, Leipzig University Hospital.

Principal investigators:
Dr. Anne Zielinski, PD Dr. Joachim Wiskemann

Co-Principal investigators:
Prof. Dr. Andreas Kulozik, Prof. Dr. Olaf Witt


Today about 70% childhood cancer patients become long-time survivors. In spite of the high cure rates the diagnosis cancer is associated with a variety of disease and treatment-related psychological and physical impairments mostly present into adulthood. So the attention has to focus on the improvement of these problems such as motor limitation, dysfunction of the cardiovascular system, reduced muscle strength, overweight, osteoporosis and diminished quality of life (Qol). Although physical interventional studies in this field are generally scarce, the results of these studies are promising. Up to now studies during the acute phase of treatment are missing almost completely. The aim of this feasibility study is an ongoing project to evaluate the potential benefits of a structure modular intervention program for childhood cancer patients during their acute anticancer treatment and during their maintenance therapy. Across two years cancer patients of the Children’s Hospital of the University Clinic of Heidelberg aged 5-21 years, free of any contraindications for physical activity will be recruited. All participants are asked to complete a physical assessment battery (strength, endurance and balance capacity, functional mobility, range of motion) and additionally two questionnaires concerning Qol and motivation, at baseline and every three months following one year. The intervention program starts after baseline and differs between inpatient and outpatient setting. During their inpatient hospitalization the participants perform 3-5x weekly guided training sessions about 15-30min. The intervention includes: game console-based training using Nintendo Wii® (endurance, strength endurance and balance), age-specific resistance training and sessions of body awareness. During the outpatient phases the participants perform a home-based exercise training 3-5x weekly using a training manual. In addition, the patients obtain a movement diary and a pedometer for documenting their activity level.

Funded by Dietmar Hopp Foundation.


PD Dr. Joachim Wiskemann
Phone: +49 6221 56-5904