Technology-based exercise intervention boosts psychosocial outcomes in cancer survivors
A multi-level, technology-based exercise intervention improves quality of life, sleep, and social support among survivors of breast and colorectal cancers, reports a new trial.
Fifty survivors were enrolled and randomly assigned to receive a standard care plan (SCP) either alone (n=24) or in combination with a 12-week physical activity (PA) module (n=26). The active intervention involved the use of a fitness tracking device as well as customized e-mail feedback. Psychosocial outcomes were assessed using different tools, including the Short-Form 36 (SF-36) and Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy (FACT).
Over the 12 weeks of intervention, cancer survivors showed medium to large improvements in SF-36 scores, including general health, mental health, physical functioning, social functioning, vitality, and role limitations due to physical and emotional problems. These occurred in conjunction with a small improvement in bodily pain. All measures were in comparison against standard care controls.
FACT outcomes for breast cancer reflected SF-36 findings and showed better scores for physical and emotional wellbeing in the intervention vs control arm. Results of FACT for colorectal cancer were not presented due to the small sample size.
Researchers also recorded improvements in sleep disturbance and impairment in the intervention arm, as well as in terms of social support and self-efficacy.
“Given the growing numbers of cancer survivors, the positive results from the present study have important implications for healthy and a long survivorship of millions. Augmenting the SCP with a more proactive technology-supported PA intervention may be an effective and practical strategy for improving psychosocial health of cancer survivors,” researchers said.