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Effects of a self-managed home-based walking intervention on psychosocial health outcomes for breast cancer patients receiving chemotherapy: a randomised controlled trial

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This study evaluated the effectiveness of a self-managed home-based moderate intensity walking intervention on psychosocial health outcomes among breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.


The randomised controlled trial compared a self-managed, home-based walking intervention to usual care alone among breast cancer patients receiving chemotherapy. Outcome measures included changes in self-report measures of anxiety, depression, fatigue, self-esteem, mood and physical activity. Fifty participants were randomised to either the intervention group (n = 25), who received 12 weeks of moderate intensity walking, or the control group (n = 25) mid-way through chemotherapy. Participants in the intervention group were provided with a pedometer and were asked to set goals and keep weekly diaries outlining the duration, intensity and exertion of their walking. Levels of psychosocial functioning and physical activity were assessed pre- and post-intervention in both groups.


The intervention had positive effects on fatigue (F = 5.77, p = 0.02), self-esteem (F = 8.93, p ≤ 0.001), mood (F = 4.73, p = 0.03) and levels of physical activity (x 2 = 17.15, p = 0.0011) but not anxiety (F = 0.90, p = 0.35) and depression (F = 0.26, p = 0.60) as assessed using the HADS. We found an 80 % adherence rate to completing the 12-week intervention and recording weekly logs.


This self-managed, home-based intervention was beneficial for improving psychosocial well-being and levels of physical activity among breast cancer patients treated with chemotherapy.

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Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN50709297.

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We would like to thank all participants who have agreed to take part in the clinical trial and have given us their time and input into the study.

Conflict of interest

There are no conflicts of interest to report and we certify that the article is original work.

Competing interests

The study is funded by Loughborough University as part of a PhD project.

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Correspondence to Kajal Gokal.

Additional information

This activity was conducted under the auspices of the National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine (NCSEM) England, a collaboration between several universities, NHS trusts and sporting and public bodies. The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of NCSEM England or the partners involved.

Appendix: Intervention booklet

Appendix: Intervention booklet

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Gokal, K., Wallis, D., Ahmed, S. et al. Effects of a self-managed home-based walking intervention on psychosocial health outcomes for breast cancer patients receiving chemotherapy: a randomised controlled trial. Support Care Cancer 24, 1139–1166 (2016).

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