Effects of a six-week home-based walking program on Taiwanese women newly diagnosed with early stage breast cancer
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In Western Culture, evidence has shown that exercise decreases fatigue and improves quality of life. However, very little research about exercise has been examined in the Asian cancer population. Additionally, exercise is not part of routine cancer care in Taiwan, although evidence for its efficacy is strong in Western Culture. Therefore, it is important to introduce an exercise program for Taiwanese women with breast cancer. The purposes of this study were to implement an appropriate walking program tailored to Taiwanese women with breast cancer, based on the effectiveness of Western Culture and Bandura's self-efficacy theory, and to test the effects of this newly adapted program on quality of life, fatigue, sleep disturbances, exercise self-efficacy, exercise behavior, and exercise capacity in Taiwanese women newly diagnosed with early stage breast cancer. This was an experimental, longitudinal study with 4-time repeated measures based on Bandura's self-efficacy theory, with the aim of implementing interventions to boost exercise self-efficacy and to evaluate research outcomes. The research intervention included a 6-week home-based walking program and strategies adapted from Bandura's theory, to boost women's exercise self-efficacy. SPSS 17.0 with descriptive statistics utilizing frequency, percentage, mean and standard deviation as well as inferential statistics such as t-test, chi-square test, HLM, RMANOVA, and ANCOVA was utilized for data analysis. Results of this study indicated that subjects in the exercise group had significantly better quality of life, less fatigue, less sleep disturbances, higher exercise self-efficacy, more exercise behavior, and better exercise capacity compared to those in the usual care group after the intervention. This program was effective and feasible for Taiwanese breast cancer women during the period of newly diagnosed and first cycle chemotherapy. More research studies with experimental, longitudinal design to verify the effects of an exercise program on women with breast cancer will be needed.