Implementing a physiotherapy led cancer exercise programme in a National Cancer Centre: the FIXCAS study

Physiotherapy. 2023 Sep:120:27-35. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2023 Mar 9.


Objectives: To examine the feasibility of implementing a 10-week exercise-based cancer rehabilitation programme in a national cancer centre.

Design: A single-arm prospective feasibility study.

Setting: An outpatient physiotherapy department.

Participants: Forty de-conditioned cancer survivors (<1 year post completion of treatment).

Interventions: A 10-week programme of twice weekly group-based supervised exercise sessions.

Main outcome measures: A mixed methods approach was used. The primary outcome of the study was feasibility, evaluated in terms of recruitment, adherence, attrition and stakeholder acceptance of the programme. Secondary outcomes examined the effect of the exercise intervention on physical function and quality of life measures.

Results: Forty patients (age 60 (SD 10.6) years; n = 12 breast cancer, n = 11 lung cancer, n = 7 prostate cancer, n = 5 colorectal cancer, n = 5 other) participated. In total 82% (n = 33) participants completed the post-programme assessment. Deterioration of health and concerns over COVID-19 were the most common reasons for dropout (both n = 2). Adherence to both the supervised exercise classes and home exercise programme was high (78% and 94% respectively). No adverse events were recorded during the intervention or assessments. Qualitative feedback from stakeholders highlighted the acceptability of the programme as well as many perceived benefits of the exercise programme. Improvements in three quality of life sub-scales (physical function, role function and emotional function), physical activity levels and aerobic fitness levels were found post-intervention.

Conclusion: It appears feasible to offer a 10-week exercise programme to patients attending a national cancer centre, with adequate recruitment, retention and adherence rates and high acceptability among stakeholders. CONTRIBUTION OF THE PAPER.

Keywords: Cancer; Exercise; Feasibility; Health-related Quality of Life; Physical Activity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19*
  • Exercise
  • Exercise Therapy / methods
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Physical Therapy Modalities
  • Prospective Studies
  • Prostatic Neoplasms*
  • Quality of Life