Longitudinal associations of light-intensity physical activity with quality of life, functioning and fatigue after colorectal cancer

Colorectal Cancer

van Roekel EH, et al. Qual Life Res 2020.


PURPOSE: Evidence from cross-sectional studies suggests that higher levels of light-intensity physical activity (LPA) are associated with better health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in colorectal cancer (CRC) survivors. However, these associations have not been investigated in longitudinal studies that provide the opportunity to analyse how within-individual changes in LPA affect HRQoL. We investigated longitudinal associations of LPA with HRQoL outcomes in CRC survivors, from 6 weeks to 2 years post-treatment.

METHODS: Data were used of a prospective cohort study among 325 stage I-III CRC survivors (67% men, mean age: 67 years), recruited between 2012 and 2016. Validated questionnaires were used to assess hours/week of LPA (SQUASH) and HRQoL outcomes (EORTC QLQ-C30, Checklist Individual Strength) at 6 weeks, and 6, 12 and 24 months post-treatment. We applied linear mixed regression to analyse longitudinal confounder-adjusted associations of LPA with HRQoL.

RESULTS: We observed statistically significant longitudinal associations between more LPA and better global quality of life and physical, role and social functioning, and less fatigue over time. Intra-individual analysis showed that within-person increases in LPA (per 8 h/week) were related to improved HRQoL, including better global quality of life (β = 1.67, 95% CI 0.71; 2.63; total range scale: 0-100) and less fatigue (β = - 1.22, 95% CI - 2.37; - 0.07; scale: 20-140). Stratified analyses indicated stronger associations among participants below the median of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) at diagnosis.

CONCLUSION: Higher levels of LPA were longitudinally associated with better HRQoL and less fatigue in CRC survivors up to two years post-treatment. Further prospective studies using accelerometer data are necessary to inform development of interventions targeting LPA.