Date of Award

January 2019

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Nursing

First Advisor

Gayle Roux

Abstract

ABSTRACT

Nature of the Problem/Study

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men in the United States, with 2.9 million men diagnosed with prostate cancer alive today (American Cancer Society, 2017). Given the rate of survival and substantial number of men living with prostate cancer, addressing symptoms and quality of life in these men is increasingly important.

Fatigue is reported to be the most distressing side effect of radiation therapy (RT), negatively effecting physical function and quality of life (Minton et al., 2013). Finding measures to predict, treat and help prevent fatigue can improve long term outcomes in cancer treatment.

The primary aim of this study is to explore the relationship between physical activity count (accelerometry) and perceived fatigue in men with non-metastatic prostate cancer (NMPC) receiving EBRT at beginning, midpoint and at end of therapy.

Methodology

An observational, correlational study examined the relationship between physical activity level (activity counts) and perceived fatigue at three time points, baseline (prior to EBRT), midpoint (Day 19-21) and post-therapy (Day 38-42).

Free living physical activity was measured with an accelerometer and through daily logs. Perceived fatigue was measured with the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Fatigue (FACT-F) at the beginning, midpoint and conclusion of EBRT in men with prostate cancer. Statistical analysis was conducted to determine correlations between physical activity count and fatigue scores. Pearson correlation was conducted at the three time points. Linear regression analysis investigated if there is a relationship between perceived fatigue scores and activity counts at the three time points, while adjusting for baseline score.

Results

Physical activity and fatigue were not correlated at any time points, however, total physical activity counts were predictive of fatigue at completion of therapy. Lower hemoglobin, baseline fatigue and total physical activity counts were predictive of fatigue at completion of therapy. These men may have continued their usual activities despite fatigue during therapy or may have been sedentary prior to therapy. Physical activity level should be monitored and, as decreasing physical activity is predictive of fatigue at completion of therapy.

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