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Keywords:

  • brain tumor;
  • exercise behavior;
  • patterns;
  • demographic variables

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Exercise may represent a supportive intervention that may complement existing neurooncologic therapies and address a multitude of therapy-induced debilitating side effects in patients with brain tumors. Given the limited evidence, the authors conducted a survey to examine the exercise patterns of brain tumor patients across the cancer trajectory.

METHODS

Using a cross-sectional design, 386 brain tumor patients who received treatment at the Brain Tumor Center at Duke University were sent a questionnaire that assessed self-reported exercise behavior prior to diagnosis, during adjuvant therapy, and after the completion of therapy.

RESULTS

The response rate was 28% (106 of 383 patients). Descriptive analyses indicated that 42%, 38%, and 41% of participants, respectively, met national exercise prescription guidelines prior to diagnosis, during treatment, and after the completion of adjuvant therapy. Repeated measures analyses indicated no significant changes in the majority of exercise behavior outcomes over the cancer trajectory. However, exploratory analyses indicated that males and younger participants may be at the greatest risk of reducing exercise levels after a brain tumor diagnosis. These analyses remained unchanged after controlling for relevant demographic and medical covariates.

CONCLUSIONS

A relatively high percentage of brain tumor patients are exercising at recommended levels across the cancer trajectory. Moreover, these patients have unique exercise patterns that may be modified by select demographic variables. This preliminary study provides important informative data for future studies examining the potential role of exercise in patients diagnosed with neurologic malignancies. Cancer 2006. © 2006 American Cancer Society.