Exercise and quality of life outcomes in patients with cancer

Semin Oncol Nurs. 2007 Nov;23(4):285-96. doi: 10.1016/j.soncn.2007.08.007.


Objective: To review the evidence of the effects of exercise interventions in patients with cancer in each of four quality-of-life domains: physical, psychological, social, and spiritual.

Data sources: Research articles, abstracts, literature review.

Conclusion: There is strong evidence to support positive effects of exercise on physical and psychological well-being. Exercise improves physical function, muscle strength, emotional well-being, self esteem, decreases fatigue, anxiety, and depression, and helps maintain weight. Data suggest exercise fosters social functioning and more research is needed on the relationship of exercise and spiritual well-being.

Implications for nursing practice: There is sufficient evidence to support exercise as an intervention to enhance a cancer patient's physical functioning and psychological well-being. Nurses should be encouraged to integrate physical activity recommendations into practice, tailored to the individual's health condition and mutual goal setting.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Exercise*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / physiopathology*
  • Quality of Life*