Purpose/Objectives: To determine the relationship between fatigue and physical activity in older patients with cancer.
Design: Targeted analysis using data from a prospective longitudinal study.
Setting: A cancer care facility in southeastern Ontario, Canada.
Sample: 440 patients, aged 65 years and older, seeking consultation for cancer treatment at a regional cancer clinic for lymphoma or leukemia or lung, breast, genitourinary, head or neck, gastrointestinal, or skin cancers.
Methods: Self-report questionnaires were mailed to consenting participants and completed at baseline and three and six months after consultation for cancer treatment.
Main Research Variables: Participants rated fatigue and physical activity and reported comorbidities and personal demographic characteristics. Clinical measures of disease and treatment factors were obtained through chart abstraction.
Findings: Fatigue was the most prevalent symptom reported. Higher fatigue was associated with lower physical activity levels. Physical activity level significantly predicted fatigue level, regardless of age.
Conclusions: Physical activity level is a modifiable factor significantly predicting cancer-related fatigue at three and six months following consultation for cancer treatment. The results suggest that physical activity may reduce fatigue in older patients with cancer.
Implications for Nursing: Physical activity interventions should be developed and tested in older patients with cancer.