Oral Presentation Joint 2016 COSA and ANZBCTG Annual Scientific Meeting

Outcomes of the pilot Next Steps cancer rehabilitation programme  (#17)

Judith M Ansell 1
  1. Liggins Institute, University of Auckland, Grafton, AUCKLAND, New Zealand

Numbers of cancer survivors in western populations are increasing.  However, side effects of cancer treatment including physical restrictions, cognitive disruption, poor sleep, reduced confidence and fatigue may be long lasting.  These effects can impact mental health and reduce engagement in exercise, despite evidence of improved long-term outcomes associated with exercise after cancer.  This pilot study aimed to recruit 100 post-surgery breast cancer patients to Next Steps, a 10 week exercise programme combining pilates, yoga, cardiovascular exercise and positive psychology taught by physiotherapists with oncology physiotherapy training.  The women were recruited to the programme via their physiotherapy clinic or breast nurse.  Before and after the course they completed online surveys incorporating QLQ-C30, the Godin Leisure-Time questionnaire and course evaluation questions.  Eleven physiotherapy clinics recruited 110 breast cancer patients (mean age 55.3y).  Data from women who completed both surveys (N=87) were analysed.  Quantitative results were analysed for mean score differences using ANOVA with Tukey’s post-hoc analysis.  Next Steps was associated with improved perception of strength, flexibility, balance, ability to relax (all p < 0.001) and overall quality of life (p < 0.05).  Next Steps was further associated with reduced fatigue, memory problems , self-confidence issues, feeling down, sleep problems (all p < 0.001), tension, irritability (both p < 0.02) and worry (p < 0.05).  Overall, participants had very positive perceptions of the programme with 93% reporting that they ‘loved the whole course’ and 80% reporting the programme had ‘made them more interested in getting fit.’  The improved cognitive function and wellbeing reported after Next Steps suggest that appropriately developed exercise programmes may also address persistent post-cancer cognitive and mental health problems in this growing population.  These improvements may further enhance the ability to commit to an exercise programme.