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Approved research

Comparison of accelerometer-derived physical activity patterns among current cancer patients, cancer survivors, and cancer-free population.

Principal Investigator: Mr Mustafa Oguz
Approved Research ID: 44513
Approval date: November 21st 2018

Lay summary

The number of patients currently living with or has survived cancer in the United Kingdom is estimated at around three million. Each year there are an estimated 360,000 new cancer diagnoses. Studies that investigate the relationship between physical activity (PA) and cancer suggest that PA is an important predictor of outcomes prior to, during, and after a cancer episode. Examples of findings include lower risk of cancer for high levels of leisure-time PA, and reduced cancer related fatigue for breast and prostate cancer patients who joined an exercise intervention. In accordance with the literature on the potential benefits of PA to achieve better health outcomes for cancer patients, guidelines for cancer patients recommend promotion of PA carefully tailored to the individual at all stages of cancer. However, cancer patients and survivors are more likely to be inactive compared to cancer-free population. A comparison of PA levels of cancer patients, survivors, and cancer-free population can help establish the deterioration of PA levels among patients with cancer and rehabilitative needs of cancer survivors. UK Biobank's baseline and repeat assessments, accelerometer study, and links to cancer registries for a large number of participants has the potential to provide insight into these comparisons. We therefore aim to answer three research questions: ! Do accelerometer-derived physical activity patterns differ between current cancer patients and the cancer-free population? ! Do accelerometer-derived physical activity patterns differ between cancer survivors and cancer-free population? ! Are physical activity patterns predictive of cancer diagnosis among cancer-free population? We will first compare the physical activity patterns between current cancer patients and cancer-free population, then compare the physical activity patterns between cancer survivors and the cancer-free population. To answer the last question, we will start with UK Biobank participants who never had a diagnosis of cancer at the time of accelerometer study, and estimate how the risk of cancer diagnosis changes with PA patterns by looking at cancer diagnoses these participants might later have. This research will help establish the physical activity levels of cancer patients and survivors in the UK, highlight gaps compared to the general population. The study can guide physical activity interventions towards specific cancer types. The identification of associations between physical activity levels and cancer incidence from a large study such as UK Biobank will be an important contribution to the literature on this topic.