Background: There is strong evidence supporting the efficacy of exercise oncology programs to improve physical and psychosocial outcomes during active treatment. However, there is a paucity of evidence on the effect of exercise on healthcare utilization and cost analyzes of exercise oncology programs. Aims: Our objective was to assess the effects of a pragmatic exercise oncology program (ENACT) during active chemotherapy treatment on healthcare utilization and associated costs. Methods: We conducted post-hoc analyzes on 160 ENACT participants and 75 comparison participants matched on cancer site, stage, age range, and gender. We obtained complete healthcare utilization histories for each patient (specific to emergency department [ED] visits and hospital admissions) coinciding with their participation in ENACT. A sub-analysis was conducted for advanced stage breast, gastrointestinal, and pancreatic cancer patients. Results: Healthcare costs for patients who participated in the ENACT exercise oncology intervention were numerically lower than healthcare costs for the comparison group, even after accounting for the cost of the intervention. However, the differences were not statistically significant. Conclusion: Our findings suggest that an exercise oncology program during active chemotherapy treatment are at least cost neutral for all cancer patients, including advanced stage cancers. Additional research is warranted to evaluate the potential for exercise oncology programs to reduce healthcare utilization, particularly in advanced cancer patients.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cancer Research