Experiences of people with cancer who have participated in a hospital-based exercise program: a qualitative study

Article


Ferri, Alessia, Gane, Elise M., Smith, Michelle D., Pinkham, Elizabeth P., Gomersall, Sjaan R. and Johnston, Venerina. 2021. "Experiences of people with cancer who have participated in a hospital-based exercise program: a qualitative study." Supportive Care in Cancer. 29 (3), pp. 1575-1583. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00520-020-05647-y
Article Title

Experiences of people with cancer who have participated in a hospital-based exercise program: a qualitative study

ERA Journal ID13803
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsFerri, Alessia, Gane, Elise M., Smith, Michelle D., Pinkham, Elizabeth P., Gomersall, Sjaan R. and Johnston, Venerina
Journal TitleSupportive Care in Cancer
Journal Citation29 (3), pp. 1575-1583
Number of Pages9
YearMar 2021
PublisherSpringer
ISSN0941-4355
1433-7339
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1007/s00520-020-05647-y
Web Address (URL)https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00520-020-05647-y
Abstract

Purpose
Exercise interventions for people with cancer and cancer survivors improve physical health, fatigue, and quality of life. Despite these benefits, poor adherence to exercise is an ongoing challenge among this population. In order to improve adherence in clinical services, this study aims to explore the benefits, challenges, barriers, and facilitators experienced by people with cancer and cancer survivors who participated in a hospital-based exercise program, specifically those who completed or did not complete the full program.

Methods
This study involved a qualitative approach. People with a cancer diagnosis who did complete (completers, n = 11) and did not complete (non-completers, n = 4) a 12-session exercise program at a tertiary hospital were recruited. Semi-structured interviews were conducted and thematic analysis was employed to identify emergent themes.

Results
Perceived benefits of exercise was the most prominent theme to emerge, with most participants recognizing improvements in physical, mental, and/or social well-being. Non-completers focused on treatment-related side effects, whereas completers saw an opportunity to return to a healthy lifestyle. The transition from a supervised environment to everyday life presented as the most significant barrier to exercise beyond the program among both program completers and non-completers.

Conclusions
Most people with cancer identified physical, mental, and social benefits from exercising. However, people with cancer and cancer survivors had difficulty maintaining exercise participation beyond completion of a supervised hospital-based program.

Implications
Improving exercise participation in people with cancer and cancer survivors may require supervised exercise interventions plus the implementation of strategies to manage side effects and to facilitate the transition of exercise into everyday life to enhance long-term adherence.

KeywordsCancer; Exercise; Qualitative study; Benefits; Barriers; Adherence
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020420109. Rehabilitation
420106. Physiotherapy
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Byline AffiliationsUniversity of Queensland
Princess Alexandra Hospital, Australia
Metro South Health, Queensland
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