A woman attends a medical consultation

Integrating physical activity into routine breast cancer care

Cancer clinicians think physical activity should be integrated in cancer care but are reluctant to raise the topic, yet patients have suggested that they would like additional support from their medical team to be physically active.

Providing clinicians with education and resources to signpost patients towards home-based, remote physical activity interventions could facilitate the routine promotion of physical activity in breast cancer care for all patients.

We conducted remote semi-structured interviews with 11 cancer clinicians (i.e., oncologists, chemotherapy nurses and surgeons) and 15 patients with breast cancer from across the UK about their views of integrating physical activity into routine breast cancer care.

We found that:

  • Physical activity is not routinely promoted in cancer care in the UK
  • Cancer clinicians said they lacked the knowledge and resources to routinely promote physical activity but believed it was important for all patients to be informed about the benefits for their health and wellbeing
  • Patients requested support from their medical team to be physically active alongside digital resources to encourage home-based physical activity
  • Cancer clinicians requested the support of a training module to aid brief conversations promoting physical activity in routine breast cancer care

What next?

Future research could include:

  • Development of digital resources to support patients to be physically active during cancer treatment
  • Development of online training module to support cancer clinicians to promote physical activity to their cancer patients
  • Investigating the feasibility of integrating physical activity in routine breast cancer care

Citation details

Gokal K, Daley AJ, Madigan CD. "Fear of raising the problem without a solution": a qualitative study of patients' and healthcare professionals' views regarding the integration of routine support for physical activity within breast cancer care. Supportive care in cancer: official journal of the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer. 2024. DOI: 10.1007/s00520-023-08293-2 


Thanks for Breast Cancer Now for support with recruitment.

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Our researchers

Kajal Gokal

Dr Kajal Gokal

Senior Research Associate, Snacktivity

Amanda Daley

Professor Amanda Daley

Professor of Behavioural Medicine, Centre Director

Claire Madigan

Dr Claire Madigan

Senior Research Associate, Weight management interventions