To understand how frequently exercise is discussed and/or prescribed as a supportive care measure and the barriers and facilitators to exercise uptake for men with prostate cancer receiving androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) at a regional cancer centre.
An observational, cross-sectional study was conducted at a regional cancer centre in three stages: (1) Retrospective chart review of men with prostate cancer undergoing ADT to identify the frequency of discussion and/or prescription of supportive care measures; (2) prospective patient survey exploring barriers and facilitators to exercise; and (3) prospective clinician survey exploring barriers, facilitators and awareness of exercise guidelines in men with prostate cancer.
Files of 100 men receiving ADT (mean age 73 years; mean ADT duration =12 months) in the medical oncology (n = 50) and radiation oncology (n = 50) clinics were reviewed. Exercise was discussed with 16% of patients and prescribed directly to 5%. Patient survey (n = 49). 44.2% of patients reported participating in exercise at a high level. Common barriers to exercise participation included fatigue (51.0%), cancer/treatment-related weakness (46.9%) and joint stiffness (44.9%). 36.7% of patients reported interest in a supervised exercise program. Clinician survey (n = 22). 36.4% identified one or more exercise guidelines, and 40.9% correctly identified national exercise guidelines. Clinicians reported low knowledge of referral pathways to a supervised exercise program (27.3%). Clinicians believe physiotherapists (95.5%) are most suited to exercise prescription and 72.7% stated that exercise counselling should be part of supportive care. Limited time (63.6%) and patient safety (59.1%) were the two most common barriers to discussing exercise with patients. Clinicians reported that only 21.9% of their patients asked about exercise. The most endorsed facilitators to increase exercise uptake were patient handouts (90.9%) and integration of exercise specialists into the clinical team (86.4%).
Despite a third of patient respondents indicating an interest in a supervised exercise program, only 16% of patients with prostate cancer undergoing ADT at a regional cancer centre engaged in a discussion about exercise with their treating clinicians. Physical limitations and fatigue were the greatest barriers for patients. Clinicians indicated a need for more clinician education and better integration of exercise specialists into clinical care. A tailored, integrated approach is needed to improve the uptake of exercise in men with prostate cancer.
Supportive care in cancer : official journal of the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer. 2021 Sep 14 [Epub ahead of print]
Hugh Elbourne, Wee Kheng Soo, Victoria O'Reilly, Anna Moran, Christopher B Steer
Rural Clinical School, University of New South Wales, Albury Campus, Albury, NSW, 2640, Australia., Eastern Health Clinical School, Monash University, Box Hill, VIC, Australia., The Border Cancer Hospital, Albury Wodonga Regional Cancer Centre, Albury, NSW, 2640, Australia., Department of Rural Health, University of Melbourne, Albury, NSW, Australia., Rural Clinical School, University of New South Wales, Albury Campus, Albury, NSW, 2640, Australia. .