Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) that assessed the effects of a physical activity intervention on daily walking activity in cancer patients were eligible for inclusion in the review. Physical activity interventions were defined as one or more of walking, physical exercise, counseling, yoga and relaxation. Studies were excluded if they evaluated the effectiveness of drugs, nutrition, transcutaneous electrical stimulation and mineral/vitamin supplements; studies of hospitalised patients were excluded. Eligible studies had to monitor walking activity using pedometers, step counters or accelerometers.
Included studies assessed supervised exercise programmes, behaviour change programmes and telephone advice regarding standard public health recommendations. Various physical activity modalities were used and included combined supervised endurance training (swimming, aerobics, other forms or a combination), individual exercises at a health club and home exercise. Three included studies compared the combined effect of physical activity, counselling (face to face/telephone) and goal setting against usual care. Four trials included physical activity counseling, with a median of four counseling sessions (range four to eight sessions). Intervention durations varied from six weeks to six months for supervised physical activity and from six weeks for supervised and 10 weeks for home-based activity. Frequency and duration of sessions varied between studies. Mean age of participants was 53.6 (standard deviation 4.2) years; all studies included participants older than 60 years. Most studies assessed participants with breast cancer and enrolled only female participants; only 11.7% of the included participants were male. One study assessed patients who had undergone a haematopoietic stem cell transplantation. On average, 71% of the included participants were white (standard deviation 32%). All of the included studies assessed participants who wore activity monitors for seven consecutive days. Physical activity was measured using an Actigraph MTI model 71256, CT1 M Actigraph accelerometer, Cymatech step activity accelerometer SAM3 and New Lifestyles Digiwalker SW-200. In two studies patient activity was recorded using a step diary. Three studies were performed in USA, one in Canada and one in Switzerland.
The authors did not state how papers were selected for the review.