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Identifying female pelvic cancer survivors with low levels of physical activity after radiotherapy: women with fecal and urinary leakage need additional support

Journal article
Authors A. Lindgren
G. Dunberger
Gunnar Steineck
Karin Bergmark
A. Enblom
Published in Supportive Care in Cancer
ISSN 0941-4355
Publication year 2019
Published at Institute of Clinical Sciences, Department of Oncology
Language en
Keywords Colorectal cancer, Fecal leakage, Gynecological cancer, Incontinence, Physical activity, Urinary leakage, quality-of-life, nutrition examination survey, radiation-therapy, national-health, incontinence, exercise, breast, association, depression, inactivity
Subject categories Cancer and Oncology


ObjectiveTo investigate the frequency of physical activity among female pelvic cancer survivors (i.e., gynecological, rectal, and anal cancer survivors) and to investigate if survivors who practiced physical activity less than once a week differed from survivors practicing physical activity at least once a week with respect to urinary and fecal leakage, clinical and sociodemographic characteristics, quality of life (QoL), and depressed and anxious mood.MethodsFemale pelvic cancer survivors (n=578, mean age 64 years) answered a questionnaire 6-48 months after radiotherapy. A multivariable regression model analyzed factors covarying with frequency of physical activity. We compared QoL and depressed and anxious mood between women practicing physical activity at least or less than once a week.ResultsOf 568 women delivering data, 186 (33%) practiced physical activity less than once a week while 382 (67%) practiced physical activity at least weekly. Women who leaked a large or all volume of stools (p=0.01), had just elementary school level of education (p<0.001), smokers (p=0.049), or had lymphedema without receiving lymphedema treatment (p=0.030) were more likely to practice physical activity less than weekly (50%, 45%, 45%, and 37%, respectively) compared with other women. Women practicing physical activity at least weekly reported better QoL (p<0.001) and lower frequency of depressed mood (p=0.044) compared with the others.ConclusionsFemale cancer survivors experiencing fecal leakage were less likely to practice weekly physical activity than survivors without leakage. The survivors practicing weekly physical activity experienced better QoL and experienced depressed mood less frequently than the others.

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