News

Walking could boost quality of life in patients with advanced cancer

Nurse-led study suggests that encouraging walking among patients with advanced cancer could lead to improvements in their quality of life. 
Walking for health

Nurse-led study suggests that encouraging walking among patients with advanced cancer could lead to improvements in their quality of life

The 42 people recruited to the study at the Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery at King's College London reported physical, emotional, psychological and social benefits from walking.

Carrying out the simple exercise every other day for 12 weeks helped patients maintain a positive attitude towards their illness.

Researchers said the people with advanced cancer, including breast, prostate, gynaecological and haematological cancers, also reported weight loss and improved fitness.

Psychological and physical health risks

Life expectancy for people with recurrent or metastatic cancer is increasing, but they have a considerable risk of experiencing psychological and physical health problems.

Despite growing evidence of significant health benefits, physical activity declines during cancer treatment and remains low afterwards.

Nurse-led study suggests that encouraging walking among patients with advanced cancer could lead to improvements in their quality of life

Walking for health
Picture: iStock

The 42 people recruited to the study at the Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery at King's College London reported physical, emotional, psychological and social benefits from walking. 

Carrying out the simple exercise every other day for 12 weeks helped patients maintain a positive attitude towards their illness.

Researchers said the people with advanced cancer, including breast, prostate, gynaecological and haematological cancers, also reported weight loss and improved fitness. 

Psychological and physical health risks

Life expectancy for people with recurrent or metastatic cancer is increasing, but they have a considerable risk of experiencing psychological and physical health problems.

Despite growing evidence of significant health benefits, physical activity declines during cancer treatment and remains low afterwards. 

During the study, patients were given a short motivational interview in which they were encouraged to walk for at least 30 minutes on alternative days and attend a weekly volunteer-led walking group. 

Get active

The social benefits of being part of a group, such as Walking for Health groups for people with long-term conditions, were important .

The faculty's lead researcher and senior lecturer Jo Armes said walking is an adaptable, inexpensive and accessible form of physical activity.

The intervention can be provided by a nurse or other professional during an appointment, she said. 

Suggesting a way of monitoring and recording activity, such as by providing the Macmillan booklet Move More, was an important way to encourage more activity. 

‘While a small-scale study, we found that you don’t have to do much to motivate people to change their behaviour,’ Dr Armes said. ‘We didn’t create anything new, just brought together different elements that are already freely available and turned them into a beneficial intervention for a group of people.

'Healthcare professionals should ask patients about what they are doing, tell them about the benefits of activity and provide them with advice and resources to either be able to maintain their level of physical activity or increase it.’


Further information

Macmillan’s Move More guide

Walking for Health groups


In other news

Sign up to continue reading for FREE

OR

Subscribe for unlimited access

Enjoy 1 month's access for £1 and get:

  • Full access to nursing standard.com and the Nursing Standard app
  • Monthly digital edition
  • RCNi Portfolio and interactive CPD quizzes
  • RCNi Learning with 200+ evidence-based modules
  • 10 articles a month from any other RCNi journal

This article is not available as part of an institutional subscription. Why is this?

Jobs