Journal of Cancer Survivorship

, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 357–370 | Cite as

Feasibility and preliminary efficacy of an exercise telephone counseling intervention for hematologic cancer survivors: a phase II randomized controlled trial

  • James R. Vallerand
  • Ryan E. Rhodes
  • Gordon J. Walker
  • Kerry S. Courneya



Supervised exercise interventions produce the largest improvements in patient-reported outcomes in cancer survivors but their scalability has been questioned. Telephone counseling has been proposed as a more feasible alternative but its impact on exercise behavior and health outcomes have been modest. Basing telephone counseling exercise (TCE) interventions on the theoretical advances described in the multi-process action control framework (M-PAC) may improve these outcomes.


To assess the feasibility and preliminary efficacy of a M-PAC-based TCE intervention for increasing aerobic exercise behavior in hematologic cancer survivors (HCS).


We recruited 51 HCS who were randomized to either a weekly TCE group (n = 26) or a self-directed exercise (SDE) group (n = 25). Participants completed online measures of self-reported aerobic exercise behavior, quality of life (QoL), fatigue, and program satisfaction at baseline and post-intervention (12 weeks).


Adherence to the TCE intervention was 93% and retention was 100%. Participants receiving TCE increased their weekly aerobic exercise by 218 min compared to 93 min in the SDE group [mean-adjusted between-group difference (MBGDadj) = 139, 95%CI = 65 to 213, p < .001, effect size (d) = 2.19]. Clinically meaningful QoL improvements favored the TCE group for mental health (MBGDadj = 3.7, 95%CI = − 0.4 to 7.9, p = .08, d = 0.42) and mental health component (MBGDadj = 3.6, 95%CI = − 0.8 to 8.1, p = .10, d = 0.35) subscales.


The 12-week TCE intervention substantially increased exercise behavior and may have meaningfully improved QoL in HCS.

Implications for Cancer Survivors

Though more definitive trials are needed, remote TCE interventions based on the M-PAC may improve exercise behavior and QoL in HCS and perhaps other cancer survivor groups.

Trial registration number

Clinical Trials ID: NCT03052777


Physical activity Leukemia Lymphoma M-PAC Exercise behavior 



JRV is supported by the Frederick Banting and Charles Best Canada Graduate Scholarship through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. RER is supported by a Canadian Cancer Society Senior Scientist Award and the Right to Give Foundation. KSC is supported by the Canada Research Chairs Program.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Supplementary material

11764_2018_675_MOESM1_ESM.docx (234 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 233 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • James R. Vallerand
    • 1
  • Ryan E. Rhodes
    • 2
  • Gordon J. Walker
    • 1
  • Kerry S. Courneya
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport, and RecreationUniversity of AlbertaEdmontoCanada
  2. 2.School of Exercise Science, Physical & Health EducationUniversity of VictoriaVictoriaCanada

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