Background: Physical activity plays an important role in colorectal cancer and accelerometry is more frequently used to measure physical activity. The aim of this study was to evaluate feasibility of physical activity measurement by accelerometry in colorectal cancer patients under free-living conditions at 6, 12 and 24 months after surgery, to evaluate the appropriate wear time and to compare results to pedometry.
Methods: Colorectal cancer patients (stage 0/I-IV) from the ColoCare study were asked to optionally wear an accelerometer and a pedometer for ten consecutive days 6, 12 and 24 months post-surgery. Participants completed a feedback questionnaire about the accelerometer measurement. The course of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity over the 10 days was investigated. Additionally, daily step counts from accelerometers and pedometers were compared.
Results: In total, there were 317 individual time points, at which 198 participants were asked to wear an accelerometer. Fifty-nine% initially agreed to participate and of these, 83% (n = 156) completed the assessment with at least 4 days of data. Twenty-one% more consents were obtained when participants were asked on a face-to-face basis compared to recruitment by telephone (P = 0.0002). There were no significant differences in time spent in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity between different wear-time lengths of accelerometry. Both Spearman and intraclass correlation coefficients showed strong correlations (0.92-0.99 and 0.84-0.99, respectively) of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity across 3, 4, 7 and 10 days measurement. Step counts measured by accelerometry and pedometry were strongly correlated (ρ = 0.91, P < 0.0001).
Conclusion: This study suggest that accelerometry is a feasible method to assess physical activity in free-living colorectal cancer patients and that three valid days of physical activity measurement are sufficient for an accurate assessment.