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Feasibility and Preliminary Efficacy of Adding Behavioral Counseling to Supervised Physical Activity in Kidney Cancer Survivors: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Trinh, Linda PhD; Plotnikoff, Ronald C. PhD; Rhodes, Ryan E. PhD; North, Scott MD; Courneya, Kerry S. PhD

doi: 10.1097/NCC.0b013e3182a40fb6

Background: Supervised physical activity (PA) improves short-term health outcomes in cancer survivors, but longer-term adherence is rarely achieved.

Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate the feasibility and preliminary efficacy of adding behavioral counseling to supervised PA in kidney cancer survivors (KCSs).

Methods: Thirty-two KCSs were randomized to a 4-week supervised PA program plus standard exercise counseling (SPA + EC group; n = 16) or a 4-week supervised PA plus behavioral counseling based on the Theory of Planned Behavior (SPA + BC group; n = 16). The primary outcome was self-reported PA at 12 weeks. Secondary outcomes were quality of life, anthropometric measures, cardiorespiratory fitness, and physical function.

Results: Follow-up rates for outcomes at 12 weeks were 88% and 94% for fitness testing and questionnaires, respectively. Adherence to the interventions was 94% in both groups with a 6% attrition rate. Analyses of covariance revealed that PA minutes at 12 weeks favored the SPA + BC group by +34 minutes (95% confidence interval, −62 to 129), which was a small effect size (d = 0.21) not reaching statistical significance (P = .47). Moreover, the SPA + BC group increased their 6-minute walk by 48 m more than the SPA + EC group (95% confidence interval, 1–95; d = +0.64; P = .046). There were no significant changes in quality of life measures.

Conclusions: This pilot study provides preliminary evidence that adding behavioral counseling to supervised PA in KCSs is feasible and may improve PA and fitness in the short-term. Larger and longer-term trials are needed.

Implications for Practice: Oncology nurses may consider adopting behavioral counseling strategies in addition to supervised PA to motivate KCSs to maintain PA.

Author Affiliations: Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada (Drs Trinh and Courneya); Priority Research Centre in Physical Activity and Nutrition, The University of Newcastle, Callaghan, Australia (Dr Plotnikoff); Faculty of Education, University of Victoria, Canada (Dr Rhodes); and Department of Medicine, Cross Cancer Institute, Edmonton, Canada (Dr North).

This research was funded by a President’s Grant for the Creative and Performing Arts–Human Performance Scholarship Fund from the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation at the University of Alberta. L.T. was supported by a Full-Time Health Research Studentship from Alberta Innovates-Health Solutions. R.C.P. is supported by a Senior Research Fellowship from the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia. R.E.R. is supported by an Investigator award from the Canadian Cancer Society. K.S.C. is supported by the Canada Research Chairs Program.

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

Correspondence: Kerry S. Courneya, PhD, Behavioural Medicine Laboratory, P320B Van Vliet Centre, Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, T6G 2H9 (

Accepted for publication July 7, 2013.

© 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins