Effect of Home- and Community-Based Physical Activity Interventions on Physical Function Among Cancer Survivors: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Published:April 17, 2017DOI:



      To examine the effect of home- and community-based physical activity interventions on physical functioning among cancer survivors based on the most prevalent physical function measures, randomized trials were reviewed.

      Data Sources

      Five electronic databases—Medline Ovid, PubMed, CINAHL, Web of Science, and PsycINFO—were searched from inception to March 2016 for relevant articles.

      Study Selection

      Search terms included community-based interventions, physical functioning, and cancer survivors. A reference librarian trained in systematic reviews conducted the final search.

      Data Extraction

      Four reviewers evaluated eligibility and 2 reviewers evaluated methodological quality. Data were abstracted from studies that used the most prevalent physical function measurement tools—Medical Outcomes Study 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey, Late-Life Function and Disability Instrument, European Organisation for the Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality-of-Life Questionnaire, and 6-minute walk test. Random- or fixed-effects models were conducted to obtain overall effect size per physical function measure.

      Data Synthesis

      Fourteen studies met inclusion criteria and were used to compute standardized mean differences using the inverse variance statistical method. The median sample size was 83 participants. Most of the studies (n=7) were conducted among breast cancer survivors. The interventions produced short-term positive effects on physical functioning, with overall effect sizes ranging from small (.17; 95% confidence interval [CI], .07–.27) to medium (.45; 95% CI, .23–.67). Community-based interventions that met in groups and used behavioral change strategies produced the largest effect sizes.


      Home and community-based physical activity interventions may be a potential tool to combat functional deterioration among aging cancer survivors. More studies are needed among other cancer types using clinically relevant objective functional measures (eg, gait speed) to accelerate translation into the community and clinical practice.


      List of abbreviations:

      CI (Confidence interval), EORTC QLQ-C30 (European Organisation for the Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality-of-Life Questionnaire–Core 30), LLFDI (Late-Life Function and Disability Instrument), SF-36 (Medical Outcomes Study 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey), 6MWT (6-minute walk test)
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