The experiences of participants in an innovative online resource designed to increase regular walking among rural cancer survivors: A qualitative pilot feasibility study

Lauren J. Frensham, Dorota M. Zarnowiecki, Gaynor Parfitt, Sharron King, James Dollman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose: Physical activity has been associated with improved outcomes for cancer survivors. Compared to their urban counterparts, rural Australians experience a health disadvantage, including poorer survival rates after diagnosis of cancer. The aim of this pilot feasibility study was to gain insight into the experiences of rural cancer survivors engaging in an online resource designed to increase regular walking. Methods: A 6-week online lifestyle intervention was implemented among eight cancer survivors living in three rural regions of South Australia. Participants used a pedometer to monitor daily steps taken, reported daily steps using a specially designed website and were provided with daily step goals based on their affective state. Participants took part in semi-structured face-to-face interviews to gauge their impressions of the program. Data were analysed using qualitative description and content analysis to derive major themes from the interviews. Results: The program motivated participants to increase their walking and resulted in improvements in several self-reported physical and quality of life outcomes. The resource was clear and easy to navigate. The three-tiered step goal system reduced feelings of guilt if participants were unable to reach a goal. The step log and graph allowed participants to self-monitor their progress. The forum fostered social support; however, more interaction with intervention personnel was suggested. Conclusions: This online pedometer-based walking intervention is feasible and effectively increases motivation for walking and enhances health-related quality of life in South Australian rural cancer survivors. A randomized controlled trial of this intervention is warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1923-1929
Number of pages7
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Volume22
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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