Nature-based experiences and health of cancer survivors

Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2014 Nov;20(4):188-92. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2014.07.005. Epub 2014 Aug 14.


Purpose: Although exposure to, and interaction with, natural environments are recognized as health-promoting, little is understood about the use of nature contact in treatment and rehabilitation for cancer survivors.

Methods: This narrative review summarizes the literature exploring the influence of nature-based experiences on survivor health. Key databases included CINAHL, EMBASE, Medline, Web of Science, PubMed, PsycArticles, ProQuest, and Cancerlit databases.

Results: Sixteen articles met inclusion criteria and were reviewed. Four major categories emerged: 1) Dragon boat racing may enhance breast cancer survivor quality of life, 2) Natural environment may counteract attentional fatigue in newly diagnosed breast cancer survivors, 3) Adventure programs provide a positive experience for children and adolescent survivors, fostering a sense of belonging and self-esteem, and 4) Therapeutic landscapes may decrease state-anxiety, improving survivor health.

Conclusions: This review contributes to a better understanding of the therapeutic effects of nature-based experiences on cancer survivor health, providing a point of entry for future study.

Keywords: Cancer survivor; Health; Nature; Nature-based therapy; Quality of life.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Aged
  • Camping
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Nature
  • Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Quality of Life / psychology*
  • Recreation Therapy
  • Ships
  • Survivors / psychology*