Exercise in clinical cancer care: a call to action and program development description

Curr Oncol. 2012 Jun;19(3):e136-44. doi: 10.3747/co.19.912.


A large and convincing body of evidence demonstrates the benefits of exercise for cancer survivors during and after treatment. Based on that literature, more cancer survivors should be offered exercise support and programming. Unfortunately, exercise programs remain an exception rather than the norm in cancer care. Not surprisingly, common barriers to the implementation of exercise programs in oncology include limited resources, expertise, and awareness of benefits on the part of patients and clinicians. To improve the accessibility and cost-effectiveness of cancer exercise programs, one proposed strategy is to combine the resources of hospital and community-based programs with home-based exercise instruction. The present paper highlights current literature regarding exercise programming for cancer survivors, describes the development of an exercise program for cancer patients in Toronto, Canada, and offers experiential insights into the integration of exercise into oncologic care.

Keywords: Exercise program; exercise program development; knowledge translation; physical activity.