Telehealth applied to physical activity during cancer treatment: a feasibility, acceptability, and randomized pilot study

  • Villaron Charlène
  • Cury François
  • Eisinger François
  • Cappiello Maria-A
  • Marqueste Tanguy

  • Exercise
  • Fatigue
  • Physical activity
  • Quality of life
  • Telemedicine


PURPOSE: Previous studies have underlined the benefits of exercise during cancer therapy. However, patients are insufficiently active during treatment. Telehealth is used to encourage people to be active, reducing difficulties and offsetting the lack of infrastructure often reported. We aimed to identify the effects of recommendations and telehealth on the level of physical activity, fatigue, and quality of life. METHODS: Sixty patients suffering from various cancers under treatment were randomized into two groups. Every Sunday, they had to complete online questionnaires: number of steps, MFI-20, and EORTC-QLQ-30. Group R (recommendations) was given encouragement to improve physical activity during 8 weeks, using a recommendation guide, and received a weekly SMS text message for exercise promotion. Group C, without recommendations, was the control group. RESULTS: Two-way ANOVAs for repeated measures did not reveal effect on the number of steps walked over time; however, the results indicated a beneficial effect for group R related to self-reported fatigue (F = 2.686, p = .01) and quality of life (F = 2.431, p = .02). CONCLUSION: Surprisingly, the level of exercise in group R did not significantly increase, but self-reported fatigue and quality of life were improved. This study underlines that inexpensive sharing of time, human, and financial means, through a protocol of physical activity, improves patient health.