Oncology care providers should develop interventions that remind and encourage them to have physical activity communications with their patients who have early stage cancer, concluded a study published online ahead of print in the journal Cancer.

Regular physical activity reduces cancer-related fatigue, maintains quality of life and physical function, and improves overall prognosis and survival for patients with cancer. However, communications regarding physical activity vary among oncology care providers.

In this study, researchers investigated patient-provider communications about physical activity during routine clinic visits with patients with early stage breast, colon, or prostate cancer.


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The study was conducted via retrospective chart review for documentation of discussions regarding physical activity in clinician notes and after-visit patient summaries.

The findings revealed that 55 oncology care providers had 361 encounters (clinic visits) with patients with early stage cancer, 35% of which included a communication about physical activity, exercise, or activity.

Physical activity communications occurred in 55% of visits with medical oncologist and 20% of encounters with other clinician specialties. Likelihood of such discussions increased with patient age.

Rate of physical activity communications was higher for patients who were seen for surveillance, chemotherapy, or endocrine treatment (46%, 37%, and 58%, respectively) than for patients whose visit was related to radiation treatment or surgery (6% and 19%, respectively).

REFERENCE

1. Nyrop KA, Deal AM, Williams GR, Guerard EJ, Pergolotti M, Muss HB. Physical activity communication between oncology providers and patients with early-stage breast, colon, or prostate cancer [published online ahead of print November 13, 2015]. Cancer. doi:10.1002/cncr.29786.