Cancer & physical activity

Key reading for clinicians

This page is designed to present some of the key evidence and advice on the use of physical activity as part of the treatment advice for those living with or beyond cancer.

ACSM (2010) American College of Sports Medicine Roundtable on Exercise Guidelines for Cancer Survivors. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise 42 (7):1409-1426 [full text]

Carmichael, A. R., Daley, A. J., Rea, D. W., & Bowden, S. J. (2010). Physical activity and breast cancer outcome: a brief review of evidence, current practice and future direction. European Journal of Surgical Oncology, 36(12), 1139–48. doi:10.1016/j.ejso.2010.09.011 [abstract]

Cramp F, Byron-Daniel J. (2012) Exercise for the management of cancer-related fatigue in adults. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews Issue 11. DOI:10.1002/14651858.CD006145.pub3

Davies, N. J., Batehup, L., & Thomas, R. (2011). The role of diet and physical activity in breast, colorectal, and prostate cancer survivorship: a review of the literature. British Journal of Cancer, 105 Suppl(S1), S52–73. doi:10.1038/bjc.2011.423 [full text]

Macmillan Cancer Support (2011)The importance of physical activity for people living with and beyond cancer: A concise evidence review [full text]

Macmillan Cancer Support (2012) Interventions to promote physical activity for people living with and beyond cancer: Evidence-based guidance [full text]

Macmillan Cancer Support (2016) What motivates people with cancer to get active [full text]

Ramalingam, S et al. (2015) What Should We Tell Patients About Physical Activity After a Prostate Cancer Diagnosis?

Rock, C. L., Doyle, C., Demark-Wahnefried, W., Meyerhardt, J., Courneya, K. S., Schwartz, A. L., Bandera, Elisa, V., et al. (2012). Nutrition and Physical Activity Guidelines for Cancer Survivors. CA: Cancer Journal for Clinicians, 00. doi:10.3322/caac.21142 [full text]

Santa Mina, D., Sabiston, C. M., Au, D., Fong, A. J., Capozzi, L. C., Langelier, D., ... & Chang, E. (2018). Connecting people with cancer to physical activity and exercise programs: a pathway to create accessibility and engagement. Current Oncology, 25(2), 149. doi: 10.3747/co.25.3977

Thomas, R. J., Kenfield, S. A., & Jimenez, A. (2016). Exercise-induced biochemical changes and their potential influence on cancer: a scientific review. British Journal of Sports Medicine, bjsports-2016.

Key Texts

Irwin, M.L. (2012) ACSM's guide to exercise and cancer survivorship. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics [google books]

Courneya, K. S., & Friedenreich, C. M. (Eds) (2011). Physical activity and cancer. London: Springer [full text]

More Links on this website

Main Cancer and Physical Activity Page

Prostate Cancer

Breast Cancer


Motivation to Exercise & Promotion of Physical Activity

Physical Activity Guidelines; General Population

Physical Activity and Other Conditions