Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 18, Issue 7, pp 817–825

Physiotherapy management of cancer-related fatigue: a survey of UK current practice

  • Caroline M. Donnelly
  • Andrea Lowe-Strong
  • Jane P. Rankin
  • Anna Campbell
  • James M. Allen
  • Jacqueline H. Gracey
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00520-009-0715-2

Cite this article as:
Donnelly, C.M., Lowe-Strong, A., Rankin, J.P. et al. Support Care Cancer (2010) 18: 817. doi:10.1007/s00520-009-0715-2

Abstract

Purpose

To establish physiotherapy management of cancer-related fatigue (CRF), in particular, to determine physiotherapy exercise management of CRF.

Methods

All physiotherapist members of the UK Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Oncology and Palliative Care (ACPOPC) received a questionnaire.

Results

The response rate was 65% (223/341). Therapists had a mean of 6.8 years (+/−5.6) experience in oncology and/or palliative care. Seventy-eight percent of therapists recommend and/or use exercise as part of the management of CRF; 74% teach other strategies, most commonly energy-conservation techniques (79%). Therapists recommend and/or use exercise in similar frequencies with a range of cancer types, before (32%), during (53%) and following treatment (59%) and during advanced stages of the disease (68%). The most common barrier encountered by therapists in recommending and/or using exercise was related to the lack-of-exercise guidelines for patients with CRF (71%).

Conclusion

Physiotherapists' management of CRF includes recommending and using exercise and teaching energy-conservation techniques. Therapists recommend and/or use exercise with a variety of cancer populations, across all stages of the disease trajectory, in particular during advanced stages of the disease. Findings show therapists feel their practice is affected by the lack of exercise guidance for the cancer population. CRF management and physiotherapy practice would benefit from further research testing the efficacy of exercise in understudied patient groups, in all stages of the disease trajectory.

Keywords

CancerFatigueExercisePhysical therapySurvey

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Caroline M. Donnelly
    • 1
  • Andrea Lowe-Strong
    • 1
  • Jane P. Rankin
    • 2
  • Anna Campbell
    • 3
  • James M. Allen
    • 1
  • Jacqueline H. Gracey
    • 1
  1. 1.1F125, Health and Rehabilitation Sciences Research InstituteUniversity of UlsterCo. AntrimUK
  2. 2.Physiotherapy department, Cancer CentreBelfast City HospitalBelfastUK
  3. 3.Cancer Care Research CentreUniversity of StirlingStirlingUK