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Exercise Programming and Counseling Preferences of Breast Cancer Survivors During or After Radiation Therapy

Kristina H. Karvinen
Thomas D. Raedeke
Hyder Arastu
Ron R. Allison
ONF 2011, 38(5), E326-E334 DOI: 10.1188/11.ONF.E326-E334

Purpose/Objectives: To explore exercise programming and counseling preferences and exercise-related beliefs in breast cancer survivors during and after radiation therapy, and to compare differences based on treatment and insurance status.

Design: Cross-sectional survey.

Setting: Ambulatory cancer center in a rural community in eastern North Carolina.

Sample: 91 breast cancer survivors during or after radiation therapy.

Methods: The researchers administered the questionnaire to participants.

Main Research Variables: Exercise programming and counseling preferences and exercise beliefs moderated by treatment status (on-treatment, early, and late survivors) and insurance status (Medicaid, non-Medicaid).

Findings: Chi-square analyses indicated that fewer Medicaid users were physically active and reported health benefits as an advantage of exercise compared to non-Medicaid users (p < 0.05). In addition, more Medicaid users preferred exercise programming at their cancer center compared to non-Medicaid users (p < 0.05). More on-treatment and early survivors listed health benefits as advantages to exercise, but fewer indicated weight control as an advantage compared to late survivors (p < 0.05). Early survivors were more likely than on-treatment survivors to indicate that accessible facilities would make exercising easier for them (p < 0.05).

Conclusions: Medicaid users are less active, less likely to identify health benefits as an advantage for exercising, and more likely to prefer cancer center-based exercise programming compared to non-Medicaid users. In addition, on-treatment and early survivors are more likely to list health benefits and less likely to indicate weight control as advantages of exercising compared to late survivors.

Implications for Nursing: The low activity levels of Medicaid users may be best targeted by providing cancer center-based exercise programming. Exercise interventions may be most effective if tailored to the unique needs of treatment status.

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