, Volume 20, Issue 5, pp 775-784
Date: 04 Jan 2009

Physical activity and function in older, long-term colorectal cancer survivors

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Abstract

Objective

Increasing age and cancer history are related to impaired physical function. Since physical activity has been shown to ameliorate age-related functional declines, we evaluated the association between physical activity and function in older, long-term colorectal cancer survivors.

Methods

In 2006–2007, mailed surveys were sent to colorectal cancer survivors, aged ≥65 years when diagnosed during 1995–2000, and identified through a state cancer registry. Information on physical activity, physical function, and relevant covariates was obtained and matched to registry data. Analysis of covariance and linear regression were used to compare means and trends in physical function across levels of activity in the final analytic sample of 843 cases.

Results

A direct, dose-dependent association between physical activity and function was observed (p trend < .001), with higher SF-36 physical function subscores in those reporting high versus low activity levels (65.0 ± 1.7 vs. 42.7 ± 1.7 (mean ± standard error)). Walking, gardening, housework, and exercise activities were all independently related to better physical function. Moderate–vigorous intensity activity (p trend < .001) was associated with function, but light activity (p trend = 0.39) was not.

Conclusion

Results from this cross-sectional study indicate significant associations between physical activity and physical function in older, long-term colorectal cancer survivors.