Quality of Life Research

, Volume 23, Issue 8, pp 2235–2246 | Cite as

Physical activity in relation to quality of life in newly diagnosed colon cancer patients: a 24-month follow-up

  • Cari Lewis
  • Pengcheng Xun
  • Ka HeEmail author



Self-reported health status in cancer patients is an independent predictor of medical outcomes. This study investigated the association between changes in recreational physical activity in colon cancer survivors and quality of life (QoL) across a 24-month follow-up beginning at diagnosis.


Patients (n = 453) diagnosed with stage II colon cancer were recruited from the North Carolina Central Cancer Registry from 2009 to 2011. Patients were interviewed annually about health behaviors (e.g., dietary intake, physical activity, alcohol and tobacco use), socioeconomic variables, and treatment. To index QoL, the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Colorectal (FACT-C) and Short Form-12 (SF-12) were utilized.


Baseline vigorous exercise showed a positive correlation with the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-General (FACT-G) Colorectal Cancer Scale (CCS) (β = 0.15, 95 % CI 0.07–0.23), FACT-C (β = 0.39, 95 % CI 0.06–0.72), and Trial Outcome Index (TOI) (β = 0.28, 95 % CI 0.01–0.55). Race modified the association between vigorous activity and the FACT-G (P interaction = 0.010), FACT-C (P interaction = 0.020), TOI (P interaction < 0.010), and the PCS (P interaction < 0.010). As compared to no change, increasing physical activity over a 24-month period following diagnosis significantly improved scores from the FACT-G (β = 3.13, 95 % CI 0.48–5.77, P trend = 0.054), FACT-C (β = 3.51, 95 % CI 0.35–6.68, P trend = 0.08) TOI (β = 2.46, 95 % CI 0.16–4.75, P trend = 0.04), and PCS of the SF-12 (β = 3.28, 95 % CI 0.93–5.63, P trend < 0.01).


Vigorous exercise is a significant predictor of higher QoL in stage II colon cancer patients. Patients with increased recreational physical activity have significantly improved QoL over 24 months following diagnosis.


Quality of life Colorectal cancer Physical activity Vigorous exercise Race 



Quality of life


Colorectal cancer


North Carolina Central Cancer Registry


Colorectal Cancer Scale


Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-General


Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Colorectal Cancer


Trial Outcome Index


12-Item Short Form Survey of Medical Outcomes


Physical component summary


Mental component summary



This work was supported by a research grant from American Cancer Society (RSGT-08-094-CPPB). The sponsors were not involved in the design of the study or in the data analyses or manuscript elaboration.

Conflict of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Anthropology, College of Arts and SciencesIndiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health - BloomingtonIndiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA

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