Are palliative cancer patients willing and able to participate in a physical exercise program?
Objective: The primary aim of the present article was to identify palliative care patient populations who are willing to participate in and able to complete a group exercise/physical training program designed specifically for the individual patient.
Method: We conducted a prospective phase II intervention study examining the willingness and ability of palliative care cancer patients to participate in a group exercise physical training program. Patients who were diagnosed with incurable cancer and had a life expectancy of less than 1 year at two outpatient clinics were invited to participate in an exercise program in the hospitals. The groups met twice a week over a 6-week period.
Results: One hundred one consecutive patients were asked for inclusion. Sixty-three patients agreed to participate. Sixteen (25%) of the 63 patients dropped out after consent was given, but before the program started due to medical problems, social reasons, or death. Thus, 47 patients started the exercise program. Thirteen patients withdrew during the program due to sudden death, medical problems, or social reasons. The most frequent reasons for withdrawal were increased pain or other symptoms. Thirty-four patients completed the exercise program.
Significance of results: A high proportion of incurable cancer patients were willing to participate (63%) in a structured exercise program. The attrition rate was high, but despite being severely ill, 54% of the patients completed the exercise period. This shows that a physical exercise program tailored to the individual patient is feasible in this population.(Received August 27 2005)
(Accepted September 27 2005)
Key Words: Clinical trials; Palliative care; Physical exercise; Intervention; Recruitment.
c1 Corresponding author: Line Oldervoll, Department of Cancer Research & Molecular Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, 5th floor cancer building, St. Olavs Hospital, N-7005 Trondheim, Norway. E-mail: email@example.com