Nurse Counseling for Physical Activity in Patients Undergoing Esophagectomy

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Strong evidence exists regarding multiple benefits of physical activity among cancer patients. Patients undergoing esophagectomy received counseling for physical activity by a nurse and instructions to keep a diary of physical activities before surgery, followed by 2 counseling sessions after surgery. Physical activity, body mass index, psychological distress, and quality of life were measured at baseline, 2–4 weeks, and 3 and 6 months after discharge. Of 29 participants (mean age = 65.9 years), 72.5% underwent thoracoscopic esophagectomy in the prone position with 3-field lymphadectomy. The results of the International Physical Activity Questionnaire indicated that postoperative physical activity returned to nearly preoperative level, and the number of inactive patients gradually decreased by half at 6 months after discharge. Quality of life scores, except those for role function and social function, tended to return to the baseline at 6 months after discharge. Psychological distress measured by the Kessler 6 remained lower than the baseline, whereas the mean score of body mass index gradually declined after discharge. Patients undergoing esophagectomy and receiving nurse counseling can return to preoperative physical activity level in their daily lives after surgery. Nurses should integrate physical activity promotion into cancer care.

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