A systematic review of the effectiveness of physical activity interventions in adults with breast cancer by physical activity type and mode of participation

Margaret Husted, James Faulkner, Shanara Abdin, Jacqueline Lavallee

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

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Objectives: Engaging in physical activity following a diagnosis in breast cancer patients improves both survival rates and psychosocial health outcomes. The factors influencing the effectiveness of physical activity interventions for breast cancer patients remain unclear. This systematic review focuses on two questions: are there differences in outcomes depending on; the mode of physical activity undertaken; and whether group-based, or individual, programmes are proposed. Methods: Five databases were searched (PsycINFO, CINAHL, MEDLINE, EMBASE, and Central). Randomised control trials were included if they reported an intervention aiming to increase physical activity amongst breast cancer patients. A total of 1561 records were screened with 17 studies identified for final inclusion. Data extraction and risk of bias analysis were undertaken. A meta-analysis was not possible due to methodological differences between studies. Results: Findings indicate no evident differences in outcomes based on exercise mode adopted. There are some indications that group interventions may have additional beneficial outcomes, in comparison to individual interventions, but this conclusion cannot be drawn definitively due to confounds within study designs, lack of group-based intervention designs, and overall lack of long-term intervention effects. Conclusions: Although there are no indications of negative intervention effects, only 6 of 17 trials demonstrated significant intervention effects were maintained. Greater transparency in reporting of interventions, and research enabling a comparison of physical activity delivery and mode is needed to determine optimum physical activity interventions to maintain patient physical activity and outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1381-1393
Number of pages13
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2019


  • Breast Cancer
  • Exercise
  • Oncology
  • Physical Activity
  • Quality of Life
  • Systematic review

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