Physical activity level and quality of life in long term lung cancer survivors

Lise Solberg Nes, Heshan Liu, Christi A. Patten, Sarah M. Rausch, Jeff A. Sloan, Yolanda I. Garces, Andrea L. Cheville, Ping Yang, Matthew M. Clark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Purpose: Lung cancer is associated with a multitude of challenges, and lung cancer survivors report significantly lower quality of life (QOL) than other cancer survivors. Methods: This study aimed to examine the relationship between physical activity level and QOL in a large sample of long term lung cancer survivors (N= 1937). Average age at diagnosis was 65 years, 92% were Caucasian, and 51% male. Surveys were completed at lung cancer diagnosis and then average 4.2 years post-diagnosis. Results: Most survivors reported having a sedentary lifestyle at both timepoints. However, 256 survivors reported a change in physical activity level from diagnosis to follow-up. Decreased physical activity (n= 140) was associated with decreased overall, mental, physical, emotional, social, and spiritual QOL (all ps < .001) and decreased symptom control as seen in reported pain, dry coughing, coughing with phlegm, shortness of breath, and level of fatigue (all ps < .05). In contrast, increased physical activity (n= 116) was associated with improved QOL (all ps < .05), and improved symptom control as seen in frequency and severity of pain (p< .01). For all participants, those engaging in regular physical activity (30. min or more per day, at least five days per week) reported significantly higher QOL scores (all ps < .001), and better symptom control than more sedentary survivors. Conclusions: Results indicate a significant association between change in physical activity and QOL and symptom control for long term lung cancer survivors, and research exploring interventions designed to improve activity level for lung cancer survivors is further warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)611-616
Number of pages6
JournalLung Cancer
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2012


  • Exercise
  • Long term lung cancer survivors
  • Physical activity
  • Quality of life
  • Symptom control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cancer Research


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