Connecting people with cancer to physical activity and exercise programs: a pathway to create accessibility and engagement
Recent guidelines concerning exercise for people with cancer provide evidence-based direction for exercise assessment and prescription for clinicians and their patients. Although the guidelines promote exercise integration into clinical care for people with cancer, they do not support strategies for bridging the guidelines with related resources or programs. Exercise program accessibility remains a challenge in implementing the guidelines, but that challenge might be mitigated with conceptual frameworks (“pathways”) that connect patients with exercise-related resources. In the present paper, we describe a pathway model and related resources that were developed by an expert panel of practitioners and researchers in the field of exercise and rehabilitation in oncology and that support the transition from health care practitioner to exercise programs or services for people with cancer. The model acknowledges the nuanced distinctions between research and exercise programming, as well as physical activity promotion, that, depending on the available programming in the local community or region, might influence practitioner use. Furthermore, the pathway identifies and provides examples of processes for referral, screening, medical clearance, and programming for people after a cancer diagnosis. The pathway supports the implementation of exercise guidelines and should serve as a model of enhanced care delivery to increase the health and well-being of people with cancer.