Regular physical activity may offer benefits to lung cancer survivors, many of whom experience quality of life impairments. However, little is know about lung cancer survivors’ engagement in physical activity across the cancer trajectory. The current study addressed this research gap and also examined the association between lung cancer survivors’ physical activity and their quality of life.
The study participants were 175 individuals who completed surgical treatment for early-stage non-small cell lung cancer one to six years previously. Participants completed a one-time survey regarding their current quality of life and their engagement in physical activities currently, during the six months after treatment, and during the six months prior to diagnosis.
Participants’ reported engagement in both moderate and strenuous intensity activities was lower during the post-treatment period compared to prior to diagnosis and at the current time. Engagement in light intensity activities did not differ for the three time points. Almost two-thirds of participants did not engage in sufficient activity to meet national physical activity guidelines for any of the three time points. Lung cancer survivors who currently met physical activity guidelines reported better quality of life in multiple domains than less active individuals.
Engagement in physical activity among lung cancer survivors is particularly low during the early post-treatment period. Current engagement in physical activity is associated with better quality of life. However, most lung cancer survivors do not meet physical activity guidelines and may benefit from interventions to promote engagement in regular physical activities.
Keywords: exercise, physical activity, quality of life, lung cancer, survivors