Perceptions of wellbeing and quality of life following participation in a community-based pre-operative exercise programme in men with newly diagnosed prostate cancer: a qualitative pilot study
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Background Men with a newly diagnosed prostate cancer are often treated by surgery. The time window between cancer diagnosis and surgery causes high levels of uncertainty and stress, which negatively impact quality of life (QoL). We previously reported a larger intervention pilot study which demonstrated that participation in a community-based pre-operative exercise programme significantly improved physical fitness and health-related quality of life in men with prostate cancer prior to surgery. The aim of the current pilot study was to get an insight into men’s perceptions of wellbeing and QoL following completion of the pre-operative exercise programme. Methods From November 2017 to June 2018, men scheduled for prostate cancer surgery were recruited and took part in a prescribed community-based pre-operative exercise programme in the time available between referral and surgery. Following completion of the pre-operative exercise programme (within 1 week before surgery), participants took part in one semistructured interview which explored four broad QoL domains: physical, psychological, social, and spiritual wellbeing. Data were analysed using thematic analysis (a bottom up/ inductive analysis). Results Eleven men were recruited: mean standard deviation (SD) age was 60 ± 7 years. Data supported four main themes. Participation in the community-based pre-operative exercise training programme (over a mean (SD) of 4 ± 2 weeks) provided participants with: 1) a teachable moment; 2) a journey of preparation; 3) a sense of optimism; and 4) social connectedness prior to surgery. Conclusion This study provides an insight into how the exercise programme impacted wellbeing and QoL in men preparing for prostate cancer surgery. These findings highlight the important role that exercise prehabilitation plays for men preparing for prostate cancer surgery. Such exercise programmes can be easily implemented into standard cancer pathways by establishing relationships between hospital teams and community exercise programmes.
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