Exercise and targeted support for older patients with advanced cancer during oncological treatment (2021)


Older patients with cancer are at increased risk of functional decline, toxicities, and impaired quality of life during oncological treatment. The overall aim of the studies related to the PhD was to investigate the effect of exercise and support for older patients (≥65 years) with advanced cancer. First, a systematic review was conducted to summarize the effects of exercise among older patients with cancer during antineoplastic treatment. Second, to gain knowledge about attitudes toward exercise among older patients with advanced cancer, a qualitative interview study was conducted with 23 informants. Third, a randomized controlled trial (RCT) was conducted to investigate the effect of exercise in older patients (N=84) with advanced pancreatic, biliary tract and non-small cell lung cancer. The intervention was a 12-week multimodal program with supervised exercise training twice weekly, protein supplements, home-based walking, and nurse-led counseling and support. The control group received standardized oncological treatment. The primary outcome was change from baseline to 13 weeks in the 30-second chair stand test (physical function). Finally, a qualitative interview study with 18 participants from the intervention group of the RCT was conducted to explore their experiences with participation regardless of their exercise adh rence, including motivators, facilitators and barriers to exercise.

Place of employment

PhD author

Marta Kramer Mikkelsen, cand.scient.san.

Date and place of defense

23th April 2021, Herlev Hospital


Mary Jarden (principal supervisor) 
Dorte Lisbet Nielsen (Primary co-supervisor) 
Anders Vinther 
Cecilia Margareta Lund

Responsible editor