Purpose: The aim of this review was to summarize the current literature for the effectiveness of activity and nutritional based interventions on health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in older adults living with and beyond cancer (LWBC).
Methods: We conducted systematic structured searches of CINAHL, Embase, Medline, Cochrane CENTRAL databases, and bibliographic review. Two independent researchers selected against inclusion criteria: 1) lifestyle nutrition and/or activity intervention for people with any cancer diagnosis, 2) measured HRQoL, 3) all participants over 60 years of age, and, 4) randomized controlled trials.
Results: Searches identified 5179 titles; 114 articles had full text review, with 14 studies (participant n=1660) included. Three had nutrition and activity components, one, nutrition only and ten, activity only. Duration ranged from 7 days to 1 year. Interventions varied from intensive daily prehabilitation to home-based gardening interventions. Studies investigated various HRQoL outcomes including fatigue, general and cancer-specific quality of life (QoL), distress, depression, global side-effect burden, and physical functioning. Eight studies reported significant intervention improvements in one or more QoL measure. Seven studies reported using a psychosocial/theoretical framework. There is a gap in tailored nutrition advice.
Conclusions: Among the few studies that targeted older adults with cancer, most were activity-based programs with half reporting improvements in QoL. Future research should focus on or include tailored nutrition components and consider appropriate behavior change techniques to maximize potential QoL improvement.
Implications for Cancer Survivors: More research is needed to address the research gap regarding older adults as current recommendations are derived from younger populations.
Forbes, C. C., Swan, F., Greenley, S., Lind, M., & Johnson, M. J. (in press). Physical activity and nutrition interventions for older adults with cancer: a systematic review. Journal of cancer survivorship : research and practice, https://doi.org/10.1007/s11764-020-00883-x