Feasibility of Monitoring Functional Capacity in patients undergoing treatment for Head and Neck Cancer

  • Author / Creator
    Beaudry, Rhys
  • Introduction: Functional capacity is an indicator of physical fitness and overall health. Low physical fitness has been reported across the cancer spectrum; this can be addressed through exercise interventions. Functional capacity is largely unstudied in head and neck cancer patients. Objectives: To evaluate the feasibility and safety of monitoring functional capacity in patients undergoing treatment for head and neck cancer. To assess functional capacity through the different stages of head and neck cancer treatment. Methods: A pilot, sub-study recruiting recently diagnosed head and neck cancer patients scheduled for oncologic neck dissection. A prospective cohort of subjects underwent a series of five standard 6 minute walk tests spread over the course of their treatment. Physical activity was assessed using the self-reported Godin Leisure Time Physical Activity Questionnaire at baseline and follow-up. Results: Twenty-seven subjects were screened for eligibility, 25 matched the criteria and underwent baseline testing. The planned 5 testing time points were pooled to 3 time points for analysis. 14 subjects were retained until the midpoint and 11 to follow-up. No adverse events were reported. No difference in functional capacity as assessed by the 6MWT was found between baseline and midpoint tests, or baseline and follow-up tests. Only 40% of participants at baseline were meeting American College of Sports Medicine recommendations for physical activity. Conclusions: Monitoring functional capacity in head and neck cancer patients is safe. Recruitment prior to treatment is feasible; however retaining subjects to follow-up poses a significant challenge. Steps may be taken to decrease attrition through increasing flexibility of appointments and offering incentive. A larger scale trial is needed to identify factors influencing functional capacity during head and neck cancer treatment. Interventions are required to increase physical activity and functional capacity in head and neck cancer patients.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
    • Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Dr Margaret McNeely (Department of Physiotherapy)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Dr Margaret McNeely (Department of Physiotherapy/Rehabilitation Sciences)
    • Dr Mark Haykowsky (Department of Rehabilitation Sciences)
    • Dr John Mackey (Cross Cancer Institute)