Physical Activity (PA) Participation for Women with Ovarian Cancer (#185)
Background & Aim: There is increasing evidence for the role of PA in improving physical functioning, quality of life and treatment side-effects during and after cancer therapy in several cancer groups. To date, there have been no studies reporting the amount and barriers to PA participation for women with ovarian cancer. This study aims to document PA levels and barriers in women who have undergone treatment for ovarian cancer.
Methods: As part of a broader cross-sectional survey, we analysed the responses of the first 50 ovarian cancer patients from the Royal Hospital for Women and Canberra Hospital, using purposive sampling. Self-reported PA levels and barriers were assessed using the International Physical Activity Questionnaire and the Perceived Physical Activity Barriers questionnaire, respectively. Participants rated how often 29 disease-specific and behavioural barriers interfered with PA participation.
Results: Participants were aged 61.3 (±10.6) years, primarily stage III (34.8%) and IV (47.8%), undergoing chemotherapy treatment (60%), have had abdominal surgery (96%), and 37.9 (±34.1) months since diagnosis. Participants undergoing treatment reported lower total PA compared to those off treatment (mean = 10.2 vs. 15.5 MET-hrs/week) but less total PA barriers (mean = 57 vs. 62). 67% reduced their PA amount since diagnosis. The most frequently reported barriers were fatigue (68%), lack of self-discipline (64%), no routine (56%) and lack of interest (56%), whilst disease-specific barriers included weakness after surgery (48%) and abdominal bloating (42%). There was a positive association between disease stage and lack of a structured exercise routine (r=0.43, p=0.003).
Conclusion: The majority of women in this study report exercising less after ovarian cancer diagnosis. Strategies to address the barriers to PA in this population will allow recruitment of larger numbers of women into studies to investigate the impact of PA on ovarian cancer outcomes.