A remotely delivered, peer-led intervention to improve physical activity and quality of life in younger breast cancer survivors
Younger breast cancer survivors (YBCS) consistently report poorer quality of life (QOL) than older survivors. Increasing physical activity (PA) may improve QOL, but this has been understudied in YBCS. This single arm pilot study evaluated the feasibility and acceptability of a 3-month, peer-delivered, remote intervention to increase PA and improve QOL in YBCS. Data were collected from October 2019 - July 2020. Participants (n = 34, 43.1 ± 5.5 years old, 46 ± 34.4 months post-diagnosis, BMI = 30.2 ± 7.4 kg/m2) completed six video sessions with a trained peer mentor; self-monitored PA with a Fitbit activity tracker; and interacted with a private Fitbit Community for social support. At baseline, 3-and 6-months, participants completed QOL questionnaires and PA was measured through accelerometer (moderate-to-vigorous PA [MVPA]) and self-report (strength and flexibility). A parallel mixed-methods approach (qualitative interviews and quantitative satisfaction survey at 3-months) explored intervention feasibility and acceptability. One-way repeated-measures ANOVAs examined impacts on PA and QOL at 3-and 6-months. The intervention was feasible as evidenced by efficient recruitment, high retention, and adherence to intervention components. Remote delivery, working with a peer mentor, and using Fitbit tools were highly acceptable. From baseline to 3-months, participants increased time spent in objectively measured MVPA, strength, and flexibility exercises, and reported meaningful improvements to body image, fatigue, anxiety, and emotional support. A fully remote, peer-to-peer intervention is an acceptable and promising strategy to increase PA and improve QOL in YBCS. Refinements to the intervention and its delivery should be further assessed in future studies, toward the goal of disseminating an evidence-based, scalable intervention to the growing number of YBCS.Trial registration Prospectively registered as NCT04064892.