Physical Activity and Women with Breast Cancer: Insights from Expert Patients


Introduction: Physical activity participation amongst cancer survivors is low. This potent modifiable hostfactor has been disregarded in the cancer treatment plan for decades, despite its role in cancer control. Thepurpose of this study was to explore perception of physical activity among women with breast cancer.
Methods:Focus group with purposive sampling methods were conducted on women at different cancer trajectory - ie.completed treatment (n=6) and undergoing treatment (n=8). The taped discussions were transcribed verbatimand analyzed using a grounded theory approach. Concepts were identified as unique or shared between the twogroups, and ordered into subcategories. Results & Discussion: Three key categories on barriers to exercise;facilitator/motivator towards exercise; and myths around exercise were highlighted. There were more mythsand reservations about physical activity in the UT (undergoing treatment) group, than in the CT (completedtreatment)group. Facilitators included positive experience from physical activity engagement, easy-access tofacility, and good social support.
Conclusions: Although both groups expressed difficulties in engaging in physicalactivity, the newly diagnosed have more negative perception of physical activity engagement. Both groups didnot note the significant role of physical activity and cancer prevention/ recurrence, which is a key strategy topromote the uptake of exercise and acceptance of active lifestyle for cancer survivors. Health care clinicians likeoccupational therapists need to play greater public health role in educating and counseling lifestyle redesign forsurvivors living with cancer.