UW-Madison’s Lisa Cadmus-Bertram recently spoke with Wisconsin Public Radio’s Hope Kirwan about a new study showing that some oncologists are reluctant to coach their patients to exercise -- even though most patients are embracing exercise as part of their treatment.
The Wisconsin Public Radio report explains how a survey of both patients and providers found that almost all participants surveyed thought exercise was important in cancer treatment.
Interestingly, the study found that 88 percent of patients wanted an exercise plan from their oncologist -- but 55 percent of providers wanted to refer patients to someone else because many said they didn’t feel comfortable recommending exercise to patients that often have different types of diseases.
Cadmus-Bertram, an assistant professor with the School of Education’s Department of Kinesiology
, told WPR that this is a common feeling among oncologists.
"Most of them would like their patients to be more active, however they are not physical activity coaches," Cadmus-Bertram, who studies the role of physical activity in cancer incidence and survivorship, tells WPR. "They don't have the training or the expertise to provide that type of support to patients nor do they have the time."
Cadmus-Bertram, who directs the Wisconsin Physical Activity Epidemiology Lab and is a member of the Cancer Prevention and Control program at the UW Carbone Cancer Center, added that doctors need to be able to refer patients to specialists who can help them recover, just like a patient who has a heart attack is referred to cardiac rehabilitation services.
"The cardiologist does not personally administer cardiac rehab to that person,” she tells WPR. “They refer them to some service where there are specialized exercise physiologists, nutritionists and other staff that provide some of that behavioral component to the patient."
To listen to an archive of the interview, visit this WPR.org web page.