BACKGROUND: Evidence shows that physical activity improves outcomes for cancer survivors. However, its adoption and maintenance is difficult. Various interventions are used to achieve this, including patient education materials, but little is known about their effectiveness to enable people to achieve and maintain recommended physical activity levels.
AIMS: To determine the effectiveness of patient education materials promoting physical activity among adult cancer survivors. METH-ODS: We searched 19 electronic databases and bibliographies of included studies, with no language restriction. We included, all types of comparative studies assessing the effectiveness of education materials to promote exercise among adult cancer survivors, reporting any patient related outcomes including physical function/fitness, QoL, health status, fatigue, psychological outcomes, adverse events and health-service use/cost. Two reviewers independently assessed study quality and extracted the data. Due to heterogeneity of the included studies, data were summarised narratively.
RESULTS: Of88 relevant articles identified, ten reports of seven studies met the inclusion criteria, all were randomised controlled trials. Despite significant heterogeneity and relatively small samples, all studies demonstrated positive outcomes of patient education materials about physical activity, especially significant improvements in physical functioning and QoL. Patient education and motivation were likely to be effective in participants’ behaviour change towards physical activity.
CONCLUSIONS: We found some evidence that physical activity advice based on models of behaviour change leads to moderate increase in physical activity in short-medium term (~12 months). Continuing counselling played an additional role in improving adherence. How-ever, it was unclear whether physical activity education had long term benefits.