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Can a fitness tracker improve quality of life?

Increasing physical activity may prolong the life of cancer patients. That’s according to a study involving the Royal Marsden Hospital and The Institute of Cancer Research in London. The study found patients who increased their activity by 1,000 steps a day were more likely to survive than their counterparts. Plus, the researchers say the fittest cancer patients tend to have the best outcomes.

Dr. Brian Gonzalez, Health Outcomes & Behavior

Dr. Brian Gonzalez, assistant member of the Health Outcomes & Behavior Department at Moffitt Cancer Center, studies fitness trackers and cancer patients. He cautions that this study should be considered preliminary because of the small sample size and that participants weren’t randomly assigned to receive or not receive a sensor.

However, he says, “This is one of several recent studies suggesting there may be an important role for patient-generated data, such as wearable sensor data. They can help patients and their doctors better understand patients’ physical activity, sleep quality and other important outcomes. They could prove useful as part of helping improve these outcomes. Or they could be used to help monitor patients between visits so that doctors can more quickly notice signs of deterioration.”

Patients can tell their doctor about their activity levels, but the wearable tracker provides more insight into their daily activity. Dr. Gonzalez will soon be recruiting patients for a Moffitt study to improve their sleep. Participants will be asked to wear a sensor as part of that study. He says the sensors may make it easier for the researchers to see whether a patients’ sleep is improving, so the team can act accordingly.


Why not register and train for Miles for Moffitt on Nov. 23? It’s a great way to get those extra steps and raise money for a good cause — 100% of all proceeds raised benefit cancer research at Moffitt Cancer Center

When: November 23, 2019
Where: Downtown Tampa
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