Online physical activity and sedentary behaviour information for cancer survivors



The purpose of this study is to assess the prevalence, content, and nature of information and/or advice regarding physical activity and sedentary behaviour available online for cancer survivors.


A search strategy was designed to identify website links that were most likely to be accessed by cancer survivors, living in five English speaking nations, looking for information about maintaining and improving health after a cancer diagnosis. All content pertaining to physical activity and sedentary behaviour was extracted, and proportions of website links containing key information were calculated. Content analysis was performed on the data to describe the nature of information provided.


Of the 394 website links reviewed, 73.4% contained information about physical activity; however, most websites did not detail recommendations, strategies and potential risks of engaging in physical activity. Less than 10% of the links reviewed contained information about sedentary behaviour. Results varied according to website and cancer type.


Although the importance of physical activity is frequently mentioned, online content on the subject lacks comprehensive, specific advice. Health advice online for cancer survivors regarding the importance of avoiding sedentary behaviour is scarce with little to no detail on how to achieve this.

Implication of cancer survivors

Until website conveners improve the comprehensiveness and specificity of the information they provide, cancer survivors may find it difficult to find, via the Internet, the advice required to properly guide and facilitate their safe participation in physical activity and avoidance of sedentary behaviour.

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We would like to thank Joshua Mario, Aleesha Heesemann, and Grant Taylor for their assistance with searching, screening, and data extraction.


This research was funded by the University of Southern Queensland.

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All authors contributed to the conceptualization and design of the research and contributed to all aspects of data collection and analysis. Author BG drafted the manuscript and all authors provided substantial contributions to editing and revising it for submission.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Belinda C. Goodwin.

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Goodwin, B.C., Crawford-Williams, F., Castro, O. et al. Online physical activity and sedentary behaviour information for cancer survivors. J Cancer Surviv 14, 677–688 (2020).

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  • Physical activity
  • Sedentary behaviour
  • Sitting
  • Internet
  • Review
  • Website information
  • Recommendations