Journal of Cancer Survivorship

, Volume 9, Issue 4, pp 660–682 | Cite as

Telephone, print, and Web-based interventions for physical activity, diet, and weight control among cancer survivors: a systematic review

  • Ana D. GoodeEmail author
  • Sheleigh P. Lawler
  • Charlotte L. Brakenridge
  • Marina M. Reeves
  • Elizabeth G. Eakin



Broad-reach (non-face-to-face) modalities offer an accessible and cost-effective means to provide behavior change programs in diverse and growing cancer survivor populations. The purpose of this systematic review is to evaluate the efficacy of physical activity, dietary, and/or weight control interventions for cancer survivors in which telephone, short-message service, print, and/or Web is the primary method of delivery.


A structured search of PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, CINAHL, and CENTRAL (May 2013) was conducted. Included studies focused and reported on physical activity (PA) and dietary change and/or weight control in adult cancer survivors, delivered at least 50 % of intervention contacts by broad-reach modality and included a control group. Study design, intervention features, and behavioral/weight outcomes were extracted, tabulated, and summarized.


Twenty-seven studies were included; 22 telephone, three Web, and two print. Sixteen studies targeted PA, two diet, and nine targeted multiple behaviors. Most studies (18/27) targeted a single survivor group, namely breast cancer (n = 12). Nineteen of 27 studies found evidence for initiation of behavior change, with only eight reporting on maintenance and one on cost-effectiveness.


This review provides support for broad-reach modalities, particularly the telephone, in the delivery of lifestyle interventions to cancer survivors. Future research should evaluate (1) newer technologies (i.e., SMS and mobile phone applications), (2) interventions for diverse cancer survivors and those targeting multiple behaviors, (3) long-term outcomes, and 4) cost-effectiveness.

Implications for Cancer Survivors

Broad-reach lifestyle interventions are effective, with further research needed to evaluate their generalizability and integration into cancer care.


Cancer survivors Diet Physical activity Weight loss Telephone Broad-reach 



CLB is supported by an Australian Postgraduate Award and a UQ School of Public Health Top-Up Scholarship. EGE is supported by a National Health and Medical Research Council Senior Research Fellowship. MMR is supported by a National Breast Cancer Foundation Early Career Fellowship.

Conflict of interest

ADG, SPL, CLB, MMR, and EGE declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

11764_2015_442_MOESM1_ESM.docx (15 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 14 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ana D. Goode
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sheleigh P. Lawler
    • 1
  • Charlotte L. Brakenridge
    • 1
  • Marina M. Reeves
    • 1
  • Elizabeth G. Eakin
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Public Health, Cancer Prevention Research CentreThe University of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia

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