Deterioration in physical activity and function differs according to treatment type in non-small cell lung cancer - future directions for physiotherapy management

AuthorsGranger, C.L.
Parry, S.M.
Edbrooke, L.
Denehy, L.
TypeJournal Article (Original Research)
PubMed ID26597694
Year of Publication2016
To investigate in non-surgically and surgically treated non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC): (1) changes in physical activity, function, health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and symptoms after diagnosis; and (2) the association between physical activity and outcomes.
Prospective observational study.
Three acute tertiary hospitals.
Sixty-nine individuals (43 male, median [IQR] age 68 [61 to 74] years) with stage I-IV NSCLC.
The primary outcome (Physical Activity Scale for the Elderly) and secondary outcome (six-minute walk test and questionnaires assessing HRQoL, function, symptoms, mood) were measured at diagnosis (pre-treatment), and eight to ten weeks post-diagnosis (post-operative and/or during chemotherapy/radiotherapy).
Individuals treated surgically (n=27) experienced a deterioration in physical activity levels (baseline median [IQR]=74 [51 to 135]; follow-up median [IQR]=29 [24 to 73]; median difference=45, effect size=0.3). At follow-up physical activity was inversely related to depression, pain and appetite loss (rho>0.5, p<0.05). In contrast non-surgical individuals (n=42) did not experience a change in physical activity, however did experience deterioration in function, functional capacity, global HRQoL, fatigue and dyspnoea. Physical activity levels were low in this group and at follow-up the strongest relationships with physical activity levels were global HRQoL, function, fatigue and mood (inverse, rho>0.5, p<0.05).
Surgically treated individuals experienced a reduction in physical activity levels after diagnosis, which was not seen in the non-surgical group. Lower physical activity levels were associated with poorer outcomes, particularly in non-surgically treated individuals. Further research is required to establish the optimal intervention to improve physical activity levels in these cohorts.

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