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Depression and quality of life in cancer survivors: is there a relationship with physical activity?

Humpel, Nancy, Iverson, Donald C
The international journal of behavioral nutrition and physical activity 2007 v.4 no.1 pp. 65
breast neoplasms, physical activity, quality of life, questionnaires
BACKGROUND: Evidence is growing on the benefit of physical activity to improve well-being following a cancer diagnosis. This study examined changes in physical activity from pre to post diagnosis and explored this relationship with quality of life and depression. METHODS: Participants were recruited by posters and by letter of invitation. The questionnaire was completed by 59 prostate and 32 breast cancer survivors. RESULTS: Physical activity decreased by 72 minutes per week from pre to post diagnosis, although 20.9% reported having increased activity post diagnosis. Over 30% were considered depressed. Breast cancer participants who increased physical activity post diagnosis reported higher scores for Physical Wellbeing subscale (26 versus 21; F[1,29] = 5.19, p < .03), Emotional Wellbeing subscale (22 versus 19; F[1,30] = 4.57, p < .04) and Functional Wellbeing subscale (26 versus 19; F[1,30] = 9.03, p < .001). A greater proportion of participants taking part in no physical activity were depressed (55.6%; χ² = 6.83, p < .04). CONCLUSION: Over 25% of participants identified with emotional and/or well being problems, and more than half reported insufficient physical activity to yield benefits. Future research needs to gain a better understanding of why cancer survivors decrease their physical activity following a cancer diagnosis and what is necessary for them in order to retain or increase their physical activity.