FitSteps for Life: Improving QOL for Persons with Cancer through a Community-Based Exercise Program
Repository Posting Date2012-01-11T10:51:07Z
Author DetailsBarbara K. Haas, PhD, RN; Gary Kimmel, MD
(41st Biennial Convention) Purpose: Exercise has been demonstrated to have beneficial effects on the lives of persons with cancer. Most studies have been limited to early stage disease or have been conducted over a short time frame. Exercise maintenance, difficult in any population, is complicated by the presence of a life-threatening illness. The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of a community-based program of exercise on the quality of life (QOL) of persons with cancer over time. Methods: Bandura's Social Cognitive Theory was used to guide this longitudinal, quasi-experimental study conducted from 2006-2011. Participants were referred by their physician to participate in a cost-free, individualized program of exercise at one of 16 community centers. The Medical Outcomes Survey, Short Form, version 2.0 (SF-36, v.2) was used to assess QOL. Data collection took place at baseline, every three months during year-one, and every six months during year-two. Results : Participants (n=701) included persons at all stages of different cancer diagnoses. One-way ANOVA analysis supported the positive impact of exercise on QOL over time as predicted by the model. Significant subscale scores of the SF-36, including physical function (F=7.33, p <. 001); role physical (F=11.74, p < .001); bodily pain (F=4.08, p <.001); vitality (F=14.19, p <.001); social function (F=14.05, p < .001); role emotional (F=7.41, p < .001); mental health (F=7.99 p < .001); and�general health (F=6.03, p < .001), were sustainable over time. Conclusion: This research introduces the concept of a cost-free long-term community-based program of individualized exercise as a feasible and effective intervention to improve the QOL for persons with all stages of cancer.�Improvements, noted at the three-month time point, appear to be sustainable for extended time (24 months).�Results from this study have significance for practice recommendations and health policy reimbursement issues.