Physical Activity for Cancer Patients: Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practices of General Practitioners

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Abstract

Healthcare professionals’ (Oncologists, doctors, and nurses) physical activity (PA) recommendations impact patients living with cancer PA levels. General practitioners (GP’s) monitor the overall health of patients living with cancer throughout their treatment journey. This is the first study to explore GP’s knowledge, attitudes and practices of PA for patients living with cancer. Methods: GPs (Table 1) who see patients living with cancer regularly completed a survey based on The Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB). Participants (GP’s) reported knowledge, attitudes, perceived behaviour control and subjective norms of PA within the cancer population. GP recommendation and referral rates of PA were reported. Principal component analysis was conducted to establish a set of survey items aligned to TPB constructs (attitude, subjective norms, perceived control), and multiple regression analyses characterised associations between these predictor variables and (a) recommendation; and (b) referral–of PA to cancer patients. Results: GPs (n = 111) recommended PA to 41–60% of their patients and referred 1–20% to PA programs. Multiple regression models significantly predicted the percent of patients recommended PA, p < .0005 adj. R2 = 0.40 and referred PA, p < .0005, adj. R2 = 0.21. GP attitudes and perceived behavioural control and GP’s own activity levels were significant predictors of whether patients were recommended and referred for PA, p<0.05. Discussion/Conclusions: This is the first study of its kind to assess the knowledge, attitudes, and practices of Australian GP’s regarding PA for the cancer population. Results offered some support for the TPB, but not all principles were supported. As hypothesised, both perceived behavioural control and attitudes were significant predictors of intentions to both recommend PA and refer patients to PA programs or for exercise specialist advice. Subjective norms, however, were shown to have no correlation with either behaviour, contradicting the hypotheses derived from the TPB. In addition, GP’s personal PA participation predicted both the percentage of patients recommended to do PA and referred to PA programs or for further support by an exercise specialist. It is well understood by GP’s that it is part of their role to be promoting PA to their clients within the cancer population (>85%) and the general population. With the consistent growth of research proving the benefits of PA for patients living with cancer with a reduction of adverse effects from cancer treatments, an emphasis needs to be placed on GP’s to promote this message to their patients. The current study suggests that enhancing the psychological aspects of GP’s attitudes and perceived behavioural control towards PA could create a positive impact on the percentage of patients living with cancer both recommended and referred for PA.
Original languageEnglish
Pages1-1
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 7 May 2021
EventResearch to Practice: Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA) Conference 2021 - Online
Duration: 6 May 20218 May 2021
https://www.researchtopractice2021.com.au/

Conference

ConferenceResearch to Practice: Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA) Conference 2021
Abbreviated titleESSA 2021
Period6/05/218/05/21
Internet address

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