Objective Physical activity after cancer is associated with a lower rate of adverse effects and better survival. The objectives of this study were to assess the exercise levels of people living with and beyond cancer attending a local oncology unit, and explore their attitudes to supervised exercise referral. Methods 134 patients attending the oncology unit over a 2 month period were approached to complete a questionnaire about their exercise levels and barriers to exercise. Results 12 of 114 (11%) patients were classed as active according to the General Practice Physical Activity Questionnaire. Despite receiving written and verbal explanations about the benefits of exercise, 44% of eligible patients declined exercise referral, with health concerns, time pressures, and the perception that they were already adequately exercising stated as the most common justifications. Overall, 82% met one or more of the current indications for the National Exercise Referral Scheme, so even in regions where the inclusion criteria have not been broadened to include cancer, this scheme is a practical option for most. Conclusion It is clear from these results that we are failing to motivate cancer patients into healthier lifestyles.Practice implications Further efforts are needed to determine and implement behavioural change strategies.
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- Cancer survivors
- Exercise referral
- Physical activity
- Behavioural change