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An exploratory study of the factors that influence physical activity for prostate cancer survivors

Abstract

Purpose

To gain an understanding of the factors that influence participation in physical activity for survivors of prostate cancer and to examine changes in participation in physical activity pre- and post-diagnosis.

Methods

Eighteen men who had completed treatment for prostate cancer 6 months prior were interviewed for this study. Constant comparison was used to examine the main themes arising from the interviews.

Results

Barriers to physical activity tended not to be related to the physical side effects of treatment, however lack of confidence following treatment, co-morbidities, older age physical decline and lack of time were barriers. Motivations for physical activity included psychological benefits, physical benefits, and the context of the activity. Participants did not recall receiving information about physical activity from clinicians and few were referred to exercise specialists. Physical activity 6 months post-treatment was similar to physical activity levels prior to diagnosis, although there was some decline in terms of the intensity of participation.

Conclusions

Interventions to increase physical activity for this group will need to take into account co-morbidities and decline associated with older age, as well as treatment side effects and psychological issues associated with a cancer diagnosis. Encouragement from health care professionals and referral to an exercise specialist is likely to give men more confidence to participate in physical activity.

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Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank Dr. Maryann Street and Dr. Jacqui Behan for conducting the interviews of participants. Dr. Street is also thanked for her assistance with the data analysis for the project.

Funding

This work was supported by a Faculty Development Grant from the Faculty of Health, Medicine, Nursing and Behavioural Sciences at Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia.

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Correspondence to Melinda J. Craike.

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Craike, M.J., Livingston, P.M. & Botti, M. An exploratory study of the factors that influence physical activity for prostate cancer survivors. Support Care Cancer 19, 1019–1028 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00520-010-0929-3

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00520-010-0929-3

Keywords

  • Cancer
  • Physical activity
  • Prostate cancer
  • Quality of life