Physical Activity and Quality of Life of Cancer Survivors: A Lack of Focus for Lifestyle Redesign

  • Lee, Jia Ern (Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya) ;
  • Loh, Siew Yim (Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya)
  • Published : 2013.04.30


Background: Physical activity is a component of lifestyle activity and one that has been increasingly seen as 'the medicine' to cure chronic diseases, including certain types of cancer. Physical activity has potent impact on mortality but only if it is well incorporated as lifestyle activity may it allow a better outcome of the quality of life of cancer survivors. This paper presents a review on the evidence of physical activity being actively promoted as lifestyle activity amongst cancer survivors, for the last five years. Materials and Methods: Electronic databases were systematically searched for randomized controlled trials incorporated as lifestyle activity through MEDLINE with the associated terms "physical activity or exercise", "quality of life" and "cancer survivor or people with cancer", 'lifestyle' and 'randomised controlled trial'. The period of search was confined to publication within January 2008 till December 2012 and further limits were to full text, peer reviewed, abstract available and English language. Results: Based on inclusion criteria, 45 articles were retrieved. Of these, 41 were excluded after examining the full paper. Four final articles on randomized controlled trials were studied to determine the effectiveness of PA to improve the quality of life in post treatment cancer survivors and positive associations were found. Conclusions: Physical activity is related to better quality of life of cancer survivors. Only one paper had characteristics of lifestyle incorporation for a lifestyle redesign, but none overtly or actively promoting exercise interventions as an essential lifestyle activity. With increasing survivorship, the benefits of physical activity must be aggressively and overtly promoted to optimize its positive impact.


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