Ready to Change Lifestyle? The Feasibility of Exercise Interventions in Cancer Patients

  • Clare Stevinson


Cancer survivors generally have favourable attitudes and intentions regarding exercise, but the majority are not active at recommended levels. Studies suggest that less than a third of people with cancer are sufficiently active for general health maintenance. Interventions aimed at introducing participants to PA appear to be feasible, even for advanced cancer patients or those receiving intensive treatments. However, despite a focus on teaching behaviour change skills such as goal setting, self-monitoring, and reinforcement, most studies have not lead to sustained increases in PA behaviour. Cancer diagnosis is often described as a valuable ‘teachable moment’ regarding lifestyle changes, but for the majority of people with cancer, it appears that increasing habitual PA to levels appropriate for health promotion is a considerable challenge. Investigations of the barriers faced by cancer survivors in becoming more active suggest that the most common obstacles match those encountered by members of the general population (e.g. lack of time, motivation, energy), rather than being cancer-specific factors. Future developments in understanding how to improve exercise motivation and adherence among inactive individuals will therefore be useful for designing effective PA promotion strategies for cancer survivors.


Cancer Survivor Breast Cancer Survivor Advanced Cancer Patient Teachable Moment High Performance Status 
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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Macmillan Research UnitSchool of Nursing, Midwifery, and Social Work, University of ManchesterManchesterUK

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