Home-based aerobic exercise feasibility in oxaliplatin-receiving newly-diagnosed cancer survivors

Eur J Oncol Nurs. 2024 Jun 27:71:102649. doi: 10.1016/j.ejon.2024.102649. Online ahead of print.


Purpose: Physical activity (PA) is beneficial but difficult to maintain during chemotherapy. This pilot RCT explored the feasibility of the MI-Walk intervention-an 8-week motivational enhancement therapy- and home-based brisk walking intervention-among gastrointestinal (GI) cancer survivors receiving chemotherapy.

Methods: Sixty stage II-IV GI cancer survivors were recruited from 5 sites at their second infusion visit. Participants were randomized to receive PA education alone or the MI-Walk intervention: motivational enhancement therapy consisting of 3 motivational interviewing and self-efficacy-enhancing counseling sessions, a Fitbit Charge 2, exercise diaries, telephone follow-up, scripted motivational email messages, and optional weekly walking groups.

Results: The enrollment and completion rates were 62% and 90%, respectively. The MI-Walk participants (n = 29; mean age = 56.79, SD = 11.72; 97% white; 79% male) reported a baseline moderate-vigorous PA duration of 250.93 (SD = 636.52) min/wk. The mean MI-Walk Intervention acceptability score was 50.32 (SD = 12.02) on a scale of 14-70. Mean Fitbit and counseling helpfulness scores on a 5-point scale were 3.67 (SD = 1.43) and 3.44 (SD = 1.36), respectively. Participants' Fitbit moderate-vigorous PA 8-week averages ranged from 0 to 716.88 min/wk; 64% of participants adhered to ≥127 min/wk. Several characteristics (e.g., age, comorbidity, PA level, employment status, BMI, education level, gender, symptoms) were associated with enrollment, attrition, and intervention acceptability and adherence (p < 0.05).

Conclusion: Enrollment and retention were adequate. The Fitbit and counseling were the most helpful. Acceptability and adherence varied based on participant characteristics; therefore, intervention tailoring and further research among cancer survivors less physically active at baseline and most in need of complex exercise intervention are needed.

Clinicaltrials: gov NCT03515356.

Keywords: Cancer; Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy; Exercise; Motivational enhancement therapy; Motivational interviewing; Physical activity.

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT03515356