Physical activity counselling and referrals by general practitioners for prostate cancer survivors in Australia

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Journal Article
Australian Journal of Primary Health, 2019, 25 (2), pp. 152 - 156
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© 2019 La Trobe University. Physical activity is an important component of standard care to ensure quality of life for prostate cancer survivors. This paper describes the frequency of physical activity management (physical activity counselling or referrals) by GPs for prostate cancer survivors. A secondary aim is to explore GP characteristics that may influence physical activity recommendations, such as GP or patient age, GP gender and GP geographical location. Analysis was conducted using the longitudinal survey data from the Bettering the Care and Evaluation of Health (BEACH) study. Consultations where prostate cancer was managed, but not classified as a new problem or associated with palliative care, were included. GPs provided physical activity recommendations at 2.0% (n = 58/2882) of prostate cancer survivorship management contacts. The physical activity management provided was physical activity counselling on 39 occasions and a physical activity referral on 19 occasions. All physical activity referrals were made to physiotherapy. After controlling for potential confounding factors, results showed that younger GPs used physical activity management at four-fold the rate of older GPs, and that GPs in major cities used physical activity management at twice the rate of rural GPs. No patient characteristics influenced physical activity management. Australian GPs rarely incorporate physical activity management as part of their management of prostate cancer. Strategies are needed to increase the frequency with which GPs recommend physical activity for prostate cancer survivors.
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