Increasingly, research supports the importance of incorporating exercise into the cancer care paradigm. While quantitative studies have substantiated the significant effects of exercise on physical functioning, the individual’s perspective of participating in an exercise program has rarely been considered. The purpose of this study was to explain the impact of a community based exercise program on the lives of persons with cancer and their caregivers. Based on Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory, a single explanatory case study with multiple embedded units of analyses was conducted. Interviews were conducted with 10 individuals representing participants with cancer, their caregivers, and health care providers. Data were analyzed using Yin’s case study method. Four themes emerged (Sense of Community, Building Relationships, Bridging the Gap, and Living Life Abundantly), which identified the unique characteristics of this community based exercise program. Incorporation of these characteristics into program planning may benefit other communities that aspire to offer a similar program to improve patient outcomes and enhance quality of life.


Case Study, Exercise, Cancer, Community-Based

Author Bio(s)

Barbara K. Haas, PhD, RN, is the David G. Braithwaite Professor in Nursing at The University of Texas at Tyler. Her teaching specialties are research design and health promotion; her research interests include exercise as a health-promotion behavior and its impact on the quality of life of persons with cancer. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: Barbara K. Haas, School of Nursing, The University of Texas at Tyler, 3900 University Blvd., Tyler, TX 75799; email: bhaas@uttyler.edu.

Melinda Hermanns, PhD, RN, is an Associate Professor in Nursing at The University of Texas at Tyler. Her teaching specialties are psychiatric mental health nursing, informatics, and research; her research interests include quality of life in persons with chronic illness, specifically, Parkinson’s disease and cancer. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: mhermanns@uttyler.edu.

Christina Melin-Johansson, PhD, RN, is an Associate Professor and faculty of Human Science at Mid-Sweden University and a post-doctoral faculty at the Institute of Health and Care Sciences, The Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden. Her research focuses on palliative care. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: christina.melin.johansson@gu.se.


The authors would like to acknowledge the contribution of the FitSTEPS for Life staff in development of this case study.

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