Cancer Patients Benefit from Exercise Interventions via Telehealth

Exercise interventions delivered via telehealth for patients with cancer was found to be a successful endeavor, with good patient compliance and overall reports of positive experiences.

The recommendation of exercise as an adjunct therapy to standard cancer treatments has been on the rise, and is associated with improved health, treatment completion rates, and quality of life. Due to the restriction of in-person cancer services given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the use of telehealth for exercise interventions provides an option for patients without risking the spread of infection.

The use of this regimen was tested by researchers from the University of Canberra in Canberra, Australia. The team conducted a literature search across four electronic databases (CINAHL, Cochrane, Medline, and Psych Info) from January 2010 through May 2020. All peer-reviewed qualitative and quantitative studies that investigated adults with any cancer diagnosis were included. The review aimed to investigate the feasibility of exercise telehealth interventions for patients with cancer, as well as the impact of these regimens on physical and psychosocial outcomes.

The investigators synthesized data from 29 studies, including a total of 3,698 participants. Interventions were classified into four main areas of telehealth: web-based, mobile applications, SMS messaging, and telephone interventions.

Overall, participants across the studies achieved good regimen compliance and symptom relief and reported an overall positive experience with the use of telehealth for exercise. No adverse events were reports in these studies.

“This review has underscored that telecommunication is a critical tool in the delivery of cancer care to enable timely ongoing support for exercise interventions for those affected by cancer. It remains important for people affected by cancer to continue to engage in and maintain regular exercise under the guidance of qualified health professionals in keeping with evidence-based clinical guidelines,” the researchers concluded.

This study was published in Seminars in Oncology Nursing.