Physical activity levels of cancer survivors in Canada: findings from the Canadian Community Health Survey Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • PURPOSE: Physical activity may reduce many side effects of cancer treatment and may improve survival. The purpose of this analysis was to compare physical activity in cancer patients and survivors to those who have never had cancer and examine changes between 2005-2006 and 2009-2010. METHODS: Data were extracted from the 2005-2006 and 2009-2010 Canadian Community Health Survey. Respondents were asked whether they currently have or had cancer in the past and about physical activity. Based on duration and type of reported activity, respondents were classified as inactive, moderately active, or active. Logistic regression was used to assess the relationship between cancer history and physical activity. Differences in physical activity by survey cycle according to cancer status were also examined. RESULTS: After adjustment, respondents with cancer were more likely to be inactive than those who had never had cancer (OR = 1.39, 95 % CI 1.21-1.58, inactive vs. active), while individuals with previous cancer did not differ from population levels. The odds of being moderately active or inactive did not vary over time in those with current or previous cancer; however, respondents who had never had cancer were less likely to be moderately active or inactive in 2009-2010 (OR = 0.94, 95 % CI 0.92-0.96, inactive vs. active). CONCLUSIONS: Individuals with cancer are less likely to be active than those who have never had cancer, but those with a history of cancer have similar physical activity levels to population levels. Activity levels in all three groups are much lower than recommended. IMPLICATIONS FOR CANCER SURVIVORS: It is encouraging to note that those with cancer history are not less likely than the general population to be physically active. Individuals with a history of cancer have much to gain from participation in physical activity and health care providers should continue to encourage physical activity in accordance with published guidelines.

publication date

  • March 2014

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