Background: Cancer is a chronic disease that patients need to live with, and a physically active lifestyle will benefit them.
Objective: The objectives of the study were to detect the time spent on physical activity of different intensities in daily life among cancer patients during chemotherapy and to examine the factors influencing physical activity.
Methods: A total of 91 cancer patients (mean age, 53.3 years) undergoing chemotherapy in Taiwan completed the questionnaires. The revised International Physical Activity Questionnaire and Multiple Classification Analysis were used to explore the various aspects of physical activity.
Results: With the exception of walking, the patients engaged in very few moderate or vigorous physical activities (both means, approximately 8 min/wk). Almost 40% of patients reached the recommended 150 min/week of moderate activity and/or 60 min/wk of vigorous-intensity physical activity, mainly by walking. Patients who held full-time jobs and who did not report symptoms of thirst engaged in more health-enhancing physical activities. Patients who were healthier perceived more benefits of and less barriers to exercise, and those who did not report symptoms of heart burn, chest pain, or pain in general spent more time engaging in light physical activity and less time sitting.
Conclusion: Most patients led a sedentary life while on chemotherapy. Walking is the most frequent health-enhancing physical activity among cancer patients.
Implications for Practice: Strategies to enhance cancer patients' physical activity level should include counseling patients to remain employed, offering symptom management such as pain relief, advising energy reserve skills, and providing appropriate places for exercise or walking.
Author Affiliations: Institute of Clinical and Community Health Nursing (Drs Liou and Chien) and School Health Research Center, National Yang-Ming University (Drs Liou and Chien and Ms Chiang); National Defense Medical Center (Dr Liou); Department of Nursing, Kang-Ning Junior College of Medical Care and Management (Ms Lee); Division of Hematology/Oncology, Department of Medicine, Tri-Service General Hospital (Dr Kao); Department of Pathology, Mackay Memorial Hospital, and Mackay Medicine, Nursing and Management College; Mackay Medical College (Dr Wang), Taipei, Taiwan.
Ms Lee and Dr Liou designed the study. Drs Lee and Kao obtained funding and supervised the study. Ms Lee performed the data collection. Dr Liou, Ms Lee, and Dr Chien completed the data analysis. Dr Liou, Ms Lee, and Drs Chien and Wang drafted the manuscript. All authors made critical revisions to the manuscript.
This study was supported by a research grant (NSC 95-2314-B-345-002) from the National Science Council of Taiwan.
The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.
Correspondence: Hui-Ling Lee, MS, RN, School of Nursing, Kang-Ning Junior College of Medical Care and Management, 137, Lane 75, Section 3, Kang-Ning Rd, NeiHu, Taipei, Taiwan 11485 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Accepted for publication December 23, 2010.