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Missed opportunities for physical activity management at key points throughout the chemotherapy pathway for colorectal survivors: an observational interview study

Veal, I, Peat, N, Jones, GD, Tsianakas, V and Armes, Jo (2019) Missed opportunities for physical activity management at key points throughout the chemotherapy pathway for colorectal survivors: an observational interview study Support Care Cancer, 27 (4). pp 1215-1222.

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Physical activity (PA) is central to self-management for people with colorectal cancer (CRC) to support health behaviour and function secondary to cancer treatment. However, there is limited evidence on how health professionals (HPs) promote PA during cancer treatment. This study aimed to investigate how and when PA is promoted throughout the chemotherapy pathway among colorectal cancer survivors.


A qualitative study was conducted with adults with CRC receiving chemotherapy at a large cancer centre. Cross-sectional observation of clinical consultations was conducted at four points during the chemotherapy pathway: prior, midpoint, final cycle, and 8 weeks following chemotherapy. Following completion of treatment, audio-recorded, semi-structured interviews were conducted with patients and HPs and transcribed verbatim. Codes and themes were identified and triangulated from all the data using framework analysis. Observational themes are reported and complimented by interview data.


Throughout the chemotherapy pathway (pre, midpoint, end), many opportunities were missed by HPs to promote PA as a beneficial means to maintain functioning and ameliorate cancer treatment side effects. When discussed, PA levels were used only to determine fitness for future oncological treatment. No PA promotion was observed despite patients reporting low PA levels or treatment side effects. Post-treatment, PA promotion was more routinely delivered by HPs, as evidenced by problem-solving and onward referrals to relevant HPs.


PA promotion was largely absent during treatment despite it being a key component of patient self-management following treatment. This suggests considerable missed opportunities for HPs to provide cancer survivors with PA evidence-based interventions. Further research is necessary to identify how best to ensure PA is promoted throughout the cancer journey. Implication for cancer survivors These findings suggest many may not be receiving support to be physically active during treatment.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences > School of Health Sciences
Authors :
Veal, I
Peat, N
Jones, GD
Tsianakas, V
Date : April 2019
DOI : 10.1007/s00520-018-4472-y
Copyright Disclaimer : This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Support Care Cancer. The final authenticated version is available online at:
Uncontrolled Keywords : Self-management . Colorectal neoplasms . Qualitative . Physical activity
Depositing User : Melanie Hughes
Date Deposited : 17 Oct 2018 11:26
Last Modified : 12 Oct 2019 02:08

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