An exploratory study of the factors that influence physical activity for prostate cancer survivors

Support Care Cancer. 2011 Jul;19(7):1019-28. doi: 10.1007/s00520-010-0929-3. Epub 2010 Jul 10.


Purpose: To gain an understanding of the factors that influence participation in physical activity for survivors of prostate cancer and to examine changes in participation in physical activity pre- and post-diagnosis.

Methods: Eighteen men who had completed treatment for prostate cancer 6 months prior were interviewed for this study. Constant comparison was used to examine the main themes arising from the interviews.

Results: Barriers to physical activity tended not to be related to the physical side effects of treatment, however lack of confidence following treatment, co-morbidities, older age physical decline and lack of time were barriers. Motivations for physical activity included psychological benefits, physical benefits, and the context of the activity. Participants did not recall receiving information about physical activity from clinicians and few were referred to exercise specialists. Physical activity 6 months post-treatment was similar to physical activity levels prior to diagnosis, although there was some decline in terms of the intensity of participation.

Conclusions: Interventions to increase physical activity for this group will need to take into account co-morbidities and decline associated with older age, as well as treatment side effects and psychological issues associated with a cancer diagnosis. Encouragement from health care professionals and referral to an exercise specialist is likely to give men more confidence to participate in physical activity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Aged
  • Australia
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Men's Health*
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation
  • Motor Activity*
  • Patient Participation / psychology*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / psychology
  • Quality of Life / psychology*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Self Concept
  • Social Support
  • Stress, Psychological*
  • Survivors / psychology*
  • Time Factors