According to the latest COSA position statement, physical activity (PA) should be recommended and promoted by all health professionals for people with cancer. Whether haematologists are meeting these guidelines by providing PA recommendations to their patients with multiple myeloma (MM), and/or referring them to exercise professionals, remains to be elucidated. This study aimed to explore the perspectives of haematologists and patients on PA for patients diagnosed with MM.
Paper-based surveys were distributed to clinical haematologists across Australia, and patients with MM at public and private clinics. The surveys included identical questions, on a 5-point Likert scale, rating the frequency of giving and receiving PA advice, and the confidence and attitudes towards discussion of PA, for patients with MM.
The haematologists cumulatively treated approximately 340 patients with MM each week in private (24%), public (38%) and combined private and public practice (35%). Patients with MM (n=118; 79% response rate), who attended private (n=40) and public (n=78) clinics, and haematologists (n=34; 68% response rate) completed the surveys.
Almost all haematologists (97%) agreed that PA was important for patients with MM, with 85% reporting at least occasionally recommending PA to their patients, and over 50% referring to exercise professionals. In contrast, 54% of private and only 20% of public practice patients with MM reported they were recommended PA by their haematologist. Further, less than 20% of all patients with MM reported they were referred to exercise professionals.
Haematologists and their patients with MM have differing perceptions of whether PA recommendations were discussed during consultations. Patients in private practice report more haematologists recommended PA than their counterparts in public clinics. Further advocacy and/or clearer referral pathways are required in all MM clinics to increase the number of patients being referred by their haematologists to exercise professionals to enhance patient outcomes.