|Exercise participation among cancer survivors has been shown to improve quality of life and physical functioning, yet only 10%-30% of survivors meet physical activity guidelines. In prostate cancer, aerobic exercise after prostate cancer diagnosis may reduce the risk of prostate cancer recurrence or death by up to 60 percent.|
Sedentary behavior increased during the pandemic, but “stay at home” restrictions have also provided an opportunity to examine home-based exercise programs, according to a new paper by PCF-funded researcher Christina Dieli-Conwright, PhD, MPH of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, and colleagues. The team reviewed 12 studies of exercise interventions in people with cancer that were all home-based and adapted for pandemic restrictions.
The approaches broadly included:Self-directed, unsupervised: recommendation to adhere to exercise guidelines or to complete a daily exercise program with accompanying resources (e.g., video)Self-directed, with regular guidance: online videos, smart watches, and printed materials supplemented with regular phone calls or messages to patientsVirtually supervised interventions: one-on-one or group exercise sessions over videoconferencing.
Although this review did not aim to determine which approach was most effective, it did yield some preliminary information about home-based exercise programs in cancer survivors and identified challenges and areas for further research. For example, in the virtually supervised programs, adherence was quite high, ranging from 84%-94%. In two trials in breast and prostate cancer, attendance and retention were actually higher in the virtual sessions held during the pandemic, compared with in-person supervision prior to COVID-19.