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Melanie Keats – 2022 Feature Grant Recipient

Generously funded by DUNN with Cancer

Melanie KeatsMelanie Keats – Dalhousie University, NS

Project Title: “How people with glioblastomas view physical activity throughout their palliative journey: A Realist study”

Description of Project:

Individuals living with a glioblastoma often experience lower quality of life due to ongoing treatments, their side-effects and symptoms related to tumour location. Recent research has shown that physical activity interventions can reduce loss of physical function, lessen fatigue and symptom burden, and foster enhanced quality of life in patients living with glioblastomas (an aggressive, often incurable brain tumour). Regrettably, given the often challenging disease and treatment related symptoms and side effects, few glioblastoma patients are sufficiently active to reap any health benefits. Moreover, physical activity is often not recommended to glioblastoma patients for fear of adverse events (e.g., falls, seizures). Interviewing individuals living with glioblastoma will increase our understanding of what physical activities they prefer and may be willing to engage in and how they view these activities as a means to enhance their overall quality of life. Our study will examine what factors affect how people with glioblastomas view their ability to engage in physical activity as opposed to other activities. The knowledge generated from this study will contribute to the evidence on the best way to engage individuals living with glioblastomas in physical activity in the context of early palliative care to enhance their quality of life.

What receiving this award means:

“Glioblastoma (a fast-growing brain cancer) is the most common malignant brain tumor in adults. As a devastating diagnosis with a high mortality rate and rapid loss of function and independence, it is imperative to consider factors such as symptom management, maintaining independence and preserving or improving quality of life for the duration of the patients’ life. While the benefits of physical activity/exercise for cancer patients and survivors are well documented, many individuals living with glioblastoma may not feel as though they are capable of engaging in physical activity/exercise or given their disease status that there may not be any benefit from being physically active. Funding from DUNN with Cancer and the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada will allow us to advance our understanding of how individuals living with glioblastoma view physical activity/exercise as a means to enhance their overall quality of live. Doing so will allow us to develop targeted interventions designed to meet the unique needs of glioblastoma patients and survivors.”

September 2023- Midpoint Report

The study “How people with glioblastomas view of physical activity throughout their palliative journey: A Realist study” has been actively recruiting for 6-months. To date, 16 interviews have been completed with patients, caregivers, healthcare providers and knowledge users. Data analysis is well underway with preliminary theories being developed. While preliminary, data suggests that healthcare providers are confident when discussing physical activity with their patients. Knowledge users have shown a clear paths to successful implementation through other health and social programs for patients which can lend a hand into developing successful implementation of physical activity programs. While patients express a strong, trusting relationship with their healthcare providers, they also express a lack of control over their treatment. Physical activity has been noted as an important way to regain some control over their situation. Healthcare providers and patients both expressed concern over their informal caregivers and the lack of supports for them. Interestingly, caregivers have not expressed this concern feeling that their main focus was being there for their care recipient. Ten additional interviews have been scheduled for the month of October.