Home-based physical activity interventions for breast cancer patients receiving primary therapy: a systematic review

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20 Scopus citations


Purpose: Breast cancer continues to be the leading cause of cancer in women in the US, so it is important to provide these women with good therapies. However, there are adverse effects to these therapies. Physical activity plays an important role in alleviating these adverse effects of breast cancer therapy. However, the effectiveness of home-based physical activity interventions such as walking programs has not been detailed by prior reviews. Methods: This article reviews articles published to date to examine whether home-based physical activity interventions are effective in improving physical activity and other outcomes among breast cancer patients who are undergoing primary therapy for the disease. The present review is based upon bibliographic searches in PubMed and CINAHL and relevant search terms. Articles published in English from 1980 through February 28, 2019 were identified. A total of 360 article citations were identified in PubMed and non-duplicates in CINAHL. Results: After screening the abstracts or full texts of these articles and reviewing the references of previous review articles, we found 15 studies that met the eligibility criteria. Four of the studies were pre/post-test trials, 10 were randomized controlled trials, and one study was an observational study. Conclusion: Results from studies published to date indicate that among women receiving primary breast cancer therapy, home-based physical activity programs have positive effects on physical functioning and symptoms such as fatigue. Among women receiving adjuvant chemotherapy or radiation therapy, home-based physical activity programs are effective in reducing symptoms and improving physical functioning. Additional studies are needed to clarify the impact of home-based physical therapy interventions on other outcomes including quality-of-life, bone mineral density, cognitive functioning, and chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)513-522
Number of pages10
JournalBreast Cancer Research and Treatment
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019


  • Breast cancer
  • Physical activity
  • Women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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