Eligible studies were single group pre-test post-test studies, controlled clinical trials or randomised controlled trials (RCTs). Eligible participants were cancer patients who had recently completed adjuvant chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy for any cancer and who had reported no plans for additional treatment (except hormone treatment for breast cancer). Recently completed was generally defined as 12 months or less between enrolment and treatment. Eligible interventions were aerobic and/or resistance training programmes with or without range of motion or flexibility exercises. Eligible outcomes were all possible health-related effects of cancer and subsequent treatments apparent in the rehabilitation period and included disease and treatment-related symptoms, quality of life, fatigue, body composition, physical function/fitness and exercise behaviour.
Studies were excluded if they included only range of motion or flexibility exercises, if the intervention was a multi-strategy programme, if the intervention was a single bout of exercise and if the programme was used to relieve or control lymphoedema.
In the included studies, participants were survivors of various cancers; most survivors had a breast cancer diagnosis. Participant age ranged from 16 to 71 years. Men and women were included. Most interventions were supervised exercise programmes. Two tailored programmes were unsupervised and these included either aerobic exercise alone or aerobic and resistance exercises. The intervention period ranged from two weeks to six months. Frequency ranged from daily to a minimum of two sessions per week. Methods to measure intensity varied. Intensity ranged from light to high. Duration of the exercise sessions ranged from 30 minutes to 90 minutes. Control groups, where reported, either maintained current levels of physical activity, were offered the intervention after the study ended or took part in a stretching programme that resulted in equivalent trainer time to that of the intervention group. Outcomes included physical function, fatigue, quality of life, haematological and immunological measures and body composition.
One reviewer selected studies for the review in consultation with a second reviewer over eligibility. There was additional input from a third reviewer.