Physical activity communication between oncology providers and patients with early stage breast, colon or prostate cancer.

Academic Article


  • 171 Background: National guidelines recommend that patients with a cancer diagnosis engage in regular physical activity (PA) to reduce cancer-related fatigue, maintain quality of life and physical function, and improve overall prognosis and survival. This study investigates oncology provider communications about PA during routine clinic visits with early stage breast, colon or prostate cancer patients. Methods: Retrospective chart review for documentation of communications (inquiries or recommendations) pertaining to PA in clinician notes and after visit patient summaries. Mixed methods analysis. Results: In a 1-month period, 55 oncology providers had 361 encounters (clinic visits) with early stage cancer patients. Of these encounters, 35% included a provider communication about “physical activity”, “exercise” or “activity”. Encounters with a medical oncologist resulted in a PA communication 55% of the time as compared to 20% of encounters with other clinician specialties (p < 0.0001). Older patients were more likely than younger patients to have a PA communication (p < 0.001). When the encounter was with a patient who was being seen for surveillance, chemotherapy or endocrine treatment, the rate of PA communications was significantly higher (46%, 37%, 58% respectively) as compared to when the visit was during radiation treatment or surgery (6%, 19% respectively) (p < 0.0001). Four PA themes emerged from our analysis of provider communications: (1) level and types of engagement in PA, (2) restrictions on PA either by the provider or perceived by patients, (3) encouragement or recommendations, or (4) relationships between PA and weight, nutrition, pain, and fatigue. There were no significant differences in PA communication rates by clinician gender, clinician training, patient gender, patient race, or disease site. Conclusions: This study shows it is feasible for oncology providers to have PA communications during routine clinic visits; however, the frequency of PA communications varies among providers. Interventions are needed to remind all oncology providers to encourage of their patients with early stage cancer to be physically active.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Nyrop KA; Deal AM; Williams GR; Guerard EJ; Pergolotti M; Muss HB
  • Start Page

  • 171
  • End Page

  • 171
  • Volume

  • 34
  • Issue

  • 3_suppl