Physical activity and exercise during preoperative pancreatic cancer treatment

Nathan H. Parker, An Ngo-Huang, Rebecca E. Lee, Daniel P. O’Connor, Karen M. Basen-Engquist, Maria Q.B. Petzel, Xuemei Wang, Lianchun Xiao, David R. Fogelman, Keri L. Schadler, Richard J. Simpson, Jason B. Fleming, Jeffrey E. Lee, Gauri R. Varadhachary, Sunil K. Sahai, Matthew H.G. Katz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Abstract: Purpose: Guidelines recommend exercise to cancer survivors, but limited data exists regarding exercise among patients undergoing preoperative cancer treatment. We examined differences in weekly self-reported exercise and accelerometer-measured physical activity among participants in a home-based exercise program administered during preoperative treatment for pancreatic cancer. Methods: Participants were encouraged to perform at least 60 min/week of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise and at least 60 min/week of full-body strengthening exercises concurrent with chemotherapy, chemoradiation therapy or both sequentially and received resistance equipment, program instruction, and biweekly follow-up calls to encourage adherence. Self-reported aerobic and strengthening exercise minutes were measured using daily logs, and physical activity was measured objectively using accelerometers. Results: Fifty participants (48% female, mean age 66 ± 8 years) participated for an average of 16 ± 9 preoperative weeks. Participants reported overall means of 126 ± 83 weekly minutes of aerobic exercise and 39 ± 33 weekly minutes of strengthening exercise in daily logs. Participants performed 158.7 ± 146.7 weekly minutes of accelerometer-measured moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. There were no significant differences in exercise or physical activity between treatment phases. Conclusions: These findings suggest that it is feasible to target the entire preoperative course for exercise prescription. Although participants exceeded aerobic exercise recommendations on average, we observed low strengthening exercise adherence and wide variability in self-reported exercise and accelerometer physical activity variables. These findings suggest that additional support, including program adaptations, may be necessary to overcome barriers to exercise or improve motivation when prescribing exercise in this clinical scenario.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2275-2284
Number of pages10
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Accelerometer
  • Aerobic exercise
  • Cancer survivorship
  • Prehabilitation
  • Strengthening exercise
  • Surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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