Purpose: Physical activity is associated with a reduction in mortality and recurrence risks in patients with cancer. Despite the well-recognized benefits of exercise, patients’ adherence to an exercise program remains a challenge. The present study aimed to assess the experiences of patients with cancer participating in a 12-week exercise program. Methods: A total of 21 survivors participated in focus group discussions after the conclusion of the exercise intervention. Semi-structured interview questions were developed according to the theory of the Health Belief Model. Data were analyzed using thematic analysis and categorized into perceived benefits, barriers, and cues to action. Results: Patients described a series of benefits achieved during the exercise program, from physical to psychological domains. Treatment-related side effects and logistic factors, including distance from the gym facility, were the most commonly reported barriers to adherence. Concerning cues to action, expected benefits from exercise were the most important reason to participate, while a patient-center program, supervised by skilled experts, highly stimulated patients to complete the program. Conclusion: Overall, patients with cancer reported a positive experience participating in a supervised exercise program. A variety of factors influencing participation and adherence were individuated. This study may help design and develop effective and sustainable programs addressing individuals’ needs.

A qualitative study exploring the experiences and perspectives of patients with cancer attending a 12-week exercise program

Borsati, A;Marotta, A;Dodi, A;Belluomini, L;Schena, F;Milella, M;Pilotto, S;Lanza, M;Avancini, A
2023-01-01

Abstract

Purpose: Physical activity is associated with a reduction in mortality and recurrence risks in patients with cancer. Despite the well-recognized benefits of exercise, patients’ adherence to an exercise program remains a challenge. The present study aimed to assess the experiences of patients with cancer participating in a 12-week exercise program. Methods: A total of 21 survivors participated in focus group discussions after the conclusion of the exercise intervention. Semi-structured interview questions were developed according to the theory of the Health Belief Model. Data were analyzed using thematic analysis and categorized into perceived benefits, barriers, and cues to action. Results: Patients described a series of benefits achieved during the exercise program, from physical to psychological domains. Treatment-related side effects and logistic factors, including distance from the gym facility, were the most commonly reported barriers to adherence. Concerning cues to action, expected benefits from exercise were the most important reason to participate, while a patient-center program, supervised by skilled experts, highly stimulated patients to complete the program. Conclusion: Overall, patients with cancer reported a positive experience participating in a supervised exercise program. A variety of factors influencing participation and adherence were individuated. This study may help design and develop effective and sustainable programs addressing individuals’ needs.
2023
Exercise
Patients with cancer
Adherence
Barriers
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11562/1117826
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