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Physical activity levels among ovarian cancer survivors: a prospective longitudinal cohort study


Objective Physical activity following cancer diagnosis is associated with improved outcomes, including potential survival benefits, yet physical activity levels among common cancer types tend to decrease following diagnosis and remain low. Physical activity levels following diagnosis of less common cancers, such as ovarian cancer, are less known. The objectives of this study were to describe physical activity levels and to explore characteristics associated with physical activity levels in women with ovarian cancer from pre-diagnosis to 2 years post-diagnosis.

Methods As part of a prospective longitudinal study, physical activity levels of women with ovarian cancer were assessed at multiple time points between pre-diagnosis and 2 years post-diagnosis. Physical activity levels and change in physical activity were described using metabolic equivalent task hours and minutes per week, and categorically (sedentary, insufficiently, or sufficiently active). Generalized Estimating Equations were used to explore whether participant characteristics were related to physical activity levels.

Results A total of 110 women with ovarian cancer with a median age of 62 years (range 33–88) at diagnosis were included. 53–57% of the women were sufficiently active post-diagnosis, although average physical activity levels for the cohort were below recommended levels throughout the 2-year follow-up period (120–142.5min/week). A decrease or no change in post-diagnosis physical activity was reported by 44–60% of women compared with pre-diagnosis physical activity levels. Women diagnosed with stage IV disease, those earning a lower income, those receiving chemotherapy, and those currently smoking or working were more likely to report lower physical activity levels and had increased odds of being insufficiently active or sedentary.

Conclusions Interventions providing patients with appropriate physical activity advice and support for behavior change could potentially improve physical activity levels and health outcomes.

  • postoperative period
  • gynecologic surgical procedures
  • miscellaneous
  • ovarian cancer

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