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Cancer Survivors Awaiting Rehabilitation Rarely Meet Recommended Physical Activity Levels

An Observational Study

Dennett, Amy M., PT, BPhty (Hons)1; Peiris, Casey L., PT, PhD2; Shields, Nora, PT, PhD3; Prendergast, Luke A., PhD4; Taylor, Nicholas F., PT, PhD5

doi: 10.1097/01.REO.0000000000000132
RESEARCH REPORTS

Objective: We aimed to describe physical activity levels and identify factors associated with physical activity of cancer survivors awaiting oncology rehabilitation.

Methods: A pilot observational study evaluating physical activity levels of 49 cancer survivors referred to outpatient rehabilitation was assessed using accelerometers worn continuously for 6 days. Multiple linear regression analyses were completed to identify factors associated with physical activity. Variables included demographic factors (cancer type, treatment, body mass index), physical factors (walking capacity, physical performance), and psychological factors (anxiety).

Results: Four participants achieved recommended physical activity levels. Participants recorded an average of 12 minutes (SD = 12) of daily moderate-intensity activity. Walking capacity had the strongest independent association with physical activity (P < .001). A 10-m increase in distance in the 6-Minute Walk Test was associated with a 7% improvement in physical activity. Breast cancer diagnosis (P = .005), increased anxiety (P = .007), and lower body mass index (P = .014) were also independently associated with high physical activity. The final model explained 70.5% of the variance in physical activity levels (P ≤ .001).

Conclusion: Few cancer survivors awaiting rehabilitation achieve recommended physical activity levels. Factors associated with low levels of physical activity such as reduced walking capacity may be modified by oncology rehabilitation.

1PhD Candidate, Physical Therapy, School of Allied Health, La Trobe University, Bundoora, Victoria, Australia; and Allied Health Clinical Research Office, Eastern Health, Box Hill, Victoria, Australia

2Academic Lecturer, School of Allied Health, La Trobe University, Bundoora, Victoria, Australia

3Professor, School of Allied Health, La Trobe University, Bundoora, Victoria, Australia; and Northern Health, Epping, Victoria, Australia

4Associate Professor, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, La Trobe University, Bundoora, Victoria, Australia

5Professor, School of Allied Health, La Trobe University, Bundoora, Victoria, Australia; and Allied Health Clinical Research Office, Eastern Health, Box Hill, Victoria, Australia

Correspondence: Amy M. Dennett, PT, BPhty (Hons), School of Allied Health, La Trobe University, Bundoora, VIC 3083, Australia (Dennett.a@students.latrobe.edu.au).

Grant Support: This work was supported by Eastern Health, La Trobe University, and an Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship.

There are no conflicts of interest to declare. The authors have full control of primary data, which is available on request.

Copyright 2018 © Oncology Section, APTA
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