Advanced ovarian cancer patients identify opportunities for prehabilitation: A qualitative study

Clarissa Polen-De, Carrie Langstraat, Gladys B. Asiedu, Aminah Jatoi, Amanika Kumar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Prehabilitation may modify frailty and increase resilience in a subset of ovarian cancer patients; however there is low adherence to most programs. Our aim was to investigate potential barriers and facilitators of prehabilitation during neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NACT). We identified 15 patients who underwent NACT from 2016 to 2018. Patients underwent a semi-structured one-on-one interview. Transcripts were coded by 4 independent reviewers to identify emerging themes related to patients’ experience, functioning and exercise during chemotherapy. Data saturation occurred after 15 interviews. Patients had a mean age of 64 and were triaged to NACT for unresectable disease in 47% of cases. Patients were overall willing to participate in exercise during chemotherapy, including walking (93%), strength training (87%), and yoga or stretching (33%). Patients identified significant factors which would motivate them to exercise during treatment despite the stated barriers, including perceived benefit to overall health and well-being, improving cancer related outcomes and a supportive treatment community. In addition, the majority of patients cited advice from their physician to participate in an exercise program as highly motivating. Cancer and treatment related symptoms such as fatigue, pain, nausea and vomiting, and respiratory distress, as well as access to care, and social and mental barriers were most often identified by patients as barriers to exercise. Patients with advanced ovarian cancer demonstrated high motivation and willingness to exercise during chemotherapy, particularly when recommended by their healthcare team and when they believe there will be a direct benefit on treatment options or cancer cure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100731
JournalGynecologic Oncology Reports
StatePublished - May 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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