NCPD Article

Physical Activity: A Systematic Review to Inform Nurse Recommendations During Treatment for Colorectal Cancer

Rachel Hirschey

Jennifer Nance

Rebecca Hoover

Tammy Triglianos

Erin M. Coffman

Lindsey N. Horrell

Jennifer Walker

Ashley Leak Bryant

Carmina Valle

physical activity, colorectal cancer, cancer treatment, quality of life, chemotherapy
CJON 2021, 25(6), 697-705. DOI: 10.1188/21.CJON.697-705

Background: As treatments improve for colorectal cancer (CRC), interventions to improve quality of life and decrease long-term effects are needed. Physical activity (PA) is particularly important during cancer treatment because it may decrease treatment side effects, allow patients to more easily increase PA after treatment, and integrate with individuals’ motivation to make lifestyle changes after a cancer diagnosis.

Objectives: This article aims to synthesize what is known about PA during CRC treatment.

Methods: A systematic literature search was conducted. Data were evaluated across 17 studies with a collective sample size of 1,184. Because of heterogeneity across studies, a narrative synthesis was conducted.

Findings: Studies included mostly college educated and married White men and women aged 50–60 years. Promising effects of PA were identified on several types of outcomes. The most common techniques to support PA included goal setting and providing instructions. The benefits of PA and how to best support PA during CRC treatment need to be better understood in future studies of racially and ethnically diverse patients with CRC.

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