Cancer survivors' experiences of a physical activity program in primary care: a qualitative study

Famke Huizinga*, Eleonora A M Kieboom, Mathieu H G de Greef, Annemiek M E Walenkamp, Annette J Berendsen, Marjolein Y Berger, Daan Brandenbarg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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PURPOSE: This study aimed to gain insight into the experiences of, and reasons for, cancer survivors participating in a primary care PA program.

METHODS: We interviewed 17 patients from 11 Dutch GP practices. Patients were selected by purposive sampling based on their general practice, gender, educational level, motivation for PA, and change in PA. Interviews were audio recorded, transcribed verbatim, and pseudonymized for inductive thematic analysis.

RESULTS: Three domains were identified with five themes: institutional domain: GP practice; program-specific domain: content sessions and PA, and activity tracker and goal setting; individual domain: experienced benefits, and personalized care needs. Participants valued the PA program because it was offered close to home, without additional costs, and by a trusted practice nurse familiar with the patients' medical background. Activity tracker use and goal setting motivated many participants but also led to demotivation and feelings of failure in others. Reported benefits included behavior change and favorable health outcomes. Many patients expressed the need to personalize psychological support and the program's timing.

CONCLUSIONS: Access to a PA program in a primary care setting is valued for its accessibility and experienced health benefits, but also seems to meet an unmet need for support in picking up life during cancer recovery.

IMPLICATIONS FOR CANCER SURVIVORS: Primary care is important for continued care of cancer survivors. An accessible PA program in this setting may fulfil a need for not only lifestyle support but also continuing life after cancer treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of cancer survivorship-Research and practice
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22-Mar-2024


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