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P58 A prescription for physical activity to support patients with breast cancer undergoing surgery: a qualitative systematic review
  1. Lauren Howe,
  2. Anna Robinson-Barella
  1. School of Pharmacy, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear, UK


Background Evidence has shown that physical activity can yield a range of benefits for patients undergoing elective surgical procedures, including breast cancer surgery. What remains unclear, is why physical activity interventions are not currently implemented into standard care for patients undergoing breast cancer surgery, why is adherence amongst this population poor?

Aim This systematic review aimed to examine the qualitative evidence in the current literature field on physical activity for patients undergoing breast cancer surgery. The review utilised patient voice and perspective to understand the benefits and shortcomings of physical activity taken place within the surgical timeframe.

Methods A systematic literature search was undertaken across five databases: MEDLINE, PsychINFO, Embase, CINAHL and Scopus. They were searched from inception to November 2022. Qualitative studies of breast cancer patients who had undergone a form of physical activity either pre-operatively (prior to surgery) or post- operatively (after surgery) were included for analysis. (PROSPERO: CRD42022372466). The Critical Appraisal Skills Programme qualitative study checklist was used to assess study quality.

Results 1149 citations were screened for eligibility, 14 were suitable for inclusion in the systematic review. The 14 studies included the patient perspective and voice of 418 breast cancer patients who had undertaken physical activity within the surgical pathway (from moment surgery contemplated up until 5 years post-surgery). Four main themes were identified upon thematic analysis of the papers and explored: factors which promoted participant adherence to the physical activity intervention, factors which prevented participant adherence to the physical activity intervention, participant reported benefits due to completion of the physical activity and participant recommendations to improve the physical activity interventions. The results were presented in narrative form due to their heterogenous nature.

Physical activity interventions were proven to be well accepted by breast cancer patients undergoing surgery, they resulted in physical benefits consistent with wider literature, furthermore, the qualitative papers allowed psychological benefits to be recognised. The analysis of factors that prevent and promote physical activity adherence intends to inform successful implementation of physical activity into standard care for breast cancer patients.

  • Systematic Review
  • Breast Cancer
  • Physical activity.

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