Review and critique of the quality of exercise recommendations for cancer patients and survivors



Publication Details

Humpel, N. & Iverson, D. (2005). Review and critique of the quality of exercise recommendations for cancer patients and survivors. Supportive Care in Cancer, 13 (7), 493-502.


The benefit of exercise for cancer patients is starting to become recognized. The purposes of this paper were to review the literature to examine whether research findings are being converted into guidelines for patients and survivors and to examine the quality of evidence on which they were based. A computer search of major health databases was conducted for peer-reviewed literature and books on exercise and cancer, and an Internet search was conducted for cancer websites reporting any exercise guidelines/recommendations for cancer patients. Seven peer-reviewed articles, eight books and eight cancer websites were identified that suggested exercise guidelines for cancer patients and survivors. None of the published guidelines identified appeared to have been developed via a process that would allow them to be cited as evidence-based guidelines. Based on the studies to date, no direct cancer-specific evidence about the best type, frequency, duration or intensity of exercise is currently available in the peer-reviewed literature. It is currently not known what would be most beneficial for which cancers, at which stage of disease or treatment. Given the current interest in cancer and exercise, there is an urgent need for an evidence-based set of exercise guidelines to be developed.

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