PITTSBURGH, PA—October 12, 2021—Research shows that physical activity during cancer treatment mitigates some of the negative physical and psychosocial outcomes associated with diagnosis and treatment. Released in the October 2021 issue of the Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing, results of a pilot study by Judi K. Forner, DNP, APRN, ACNS-BC, RN-BC, Andrea Doughty, PhD, Matthew David Dalstrom, PhD, MPH, Brandie L. Messer, DNP, RN, PCOE, and Shannon K. Lizer, PhD, APRN, FNP-BC, FAANP, demonstrated the positive impact of the Oncology Nursing Society’s (ONS’s) Get Up, Get Moving program.

The pilot study showed that the Get Up, Get Moving program, coupled with nurse telephone calls, increased steps, decreased fatigue, and maintained health-related quality of life among patients in the intervention group. The control group had a decrease in steps, a decline in their SF-36 general health score, and an increase in fatigue. The researchers reported that nurse coaching positively affected physical activity, which may help to decrease cancer treatment side effects. 

ONS member experts developed the Get Up, Get Moving campaign to encourage oncology nurses to implement evidence-based practice changes and to recommend physical activity to patients with cancer during treatment. The personalized, home-based, nurse-led physical activity program improves quality of life by managing anxiety and depression, enhancing sleep quality, preventing lymphedema, maintaining bone and muscle strength, and decreasing the possibility of cancer recurrence.

“The ONS Get Up, Get Moving quality improvement initiative provides evidence-based tools that oncology nurses can use to implement the program at their own cancer center. As the research has supported, low-impact exercise, even as simple as walking, can possibly decrease cancer treatment symptoms of fatigue and nausea while helping to maintain their quality of life,” Forner said. “We owe it to our patients to encourage physical activity during cancer treatment.”

ONS is a professional association that represents 100,000 nurses and is the professional home to more than 35,000 members. ONS is committed to promoting excellence in oncology nursing and the transformation of cancer care. Since 1975, ONS has provided a professional community for oncology nurses, developed evidence-based education programs and treatment information, and advocated for patient care, all in an effort to improve quality of life and outcomes for patients with cancer and their families. Learn more at ons.org