Cancer Patients Perceptions of Traditional and Non-Traditional Exercise

Sunday, 17 November 2013: 11:20 AM

Simran Khatra, BSN, RN
College of Nursing, University of Toledo, Toledo, OH
M Eileen Walsh, PhD, MSN, BSN
Health Promotion Outcomes Systems Policy, College of Nursing, University of Toledo, Toledo, OH
Debra Reis, MSN, RN, CNP
ProMedica Cancer Institute, Sylvania, OH
Tisha Jones, MSW
ProMedica System Grants, ProMedica, Toledo, OH

Learning Objective 1: Describe the differences in perceptions and preferences of traditional and non- traditional exercise.

Learning Objective 2: Discuss differences in exercise engagement of cancer patients during a typical 7-day period.

Background:  There is little information on patient perceptions of exercise during cancer treatment and only a limited body of research on the efficacy of non-traditional exercise modalities for cancer patients.  Some studies show that exercise aids in managing and relieving symptoms, yet many cancer patients do not engage in exercise. 

Purpose:  The purpose of this study is to describe cancer patients’ perceptions of traditional and non-traditional exercise and the target audience will be oncology nurses. 

Methods:  All cancer patients scheduled for their first outpatient treatment were invited to participate. Patients were asked to complete a 29-item survey, consisting of demographic and medical history questions.   Exercise behaviors were assessed using the Godin Leisure Time Questionnaire and Perception of Traditional and Non-Traditional Exercise Survey.

Results: A total of 112 patients (56% females and 44% males) completed the study.   The majority were diagnosed with breast (34%), prostate (21%), or lung (15%) cancers and treated with radiation therapy (66%).  The majority of patients did not engage in strenuous exercise (64%) or moderate exercise (46%).  Respondents identified traditional exercise as useful (76%) and beneficial (66%); and non-traditional exercise as useful (48%) and beneficial (43%).  The majority of patients preferred traditional (35%) over non-traditional exercise (12%), while 15% had no preference and 20% preferred both types.   

Conclusions: The majority of these cancer patients did not participate in strenuous or moderate exercise.  Although a convenience sample, this suggests the potential need to discuss the importance of exercise as an adjunct during cancer treatment in symptom management.  It would be helpful to provide educational sessions for oncology nursing staff on exercise modalities and strategies to discuss exercise interventions with cancer patients.  In addition, providing specific educational materials about both traditional and non-traditional types of exercise in outpatient treatment areas may be of benefit.