As cancer progresses, it often leads to physical disability and pain that can threaten a person’s independence and devastate their quality of life. Yet most people with advanced cancer don’t receive physical therapy or engage in exercise that can help maintain function, said Andrea Cheville, M.D., a rehabilitation physician at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. For these patients, she said, small changes in physical fitness can mean the difference between being able to live independently and losing one’s independence, and may also affect their ability to receive certain treatments. An NCI-funded clinical trial led by Dr. Cheville found that a 6-month physical rehabilitation program delivered by telephone modestly improved function and reduced pain for people with advanced cancer. The telerehabilitation program also reduced the time patients spent in hospitals and long-term care facilities such as nursing homes. “Overall, the study findings add to the growing evidence that low-tech interventions can effectively improve the delivery of supportive cancer care services,” wrote Manali Patel, M.D., M.P.H., of the Stanford University School of Medicine, in a commentary on the study. Embracing these low-tech approaches “may be a smart move … to improve patient-reported outcomes and keep patients at home,” she concluded. The findings, published April 4 in JAMA Oncology, also “reiterate the importance of supportive care for patients, and particularly for patients with advanced cancer,” said Karen Mustian, Ph.D., M.P.H., of the University of Rochester’s Wilmot Cancer Institute, who was not involved with the study. “We need to think of new and creative ways to be able to support patients, their care providers, and their family members [in] the process of managing cancer,” Dr. Mustian said.