The Benefit of Physical Activity in Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Patients During and After Treatment: A Systematic Review

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Cancer and its associated therapies can severely impact the physical and psychosocial functioning of adolescent and young adults (AYAs), both during treatment and well into survivorship. Physical activity during and after cancer treatment could be beneficial to the AYA population, although this cohort has received little scientific attention. A systematic search of the literature was conducted to investigate current exercise interventions in AYA-specific populations. Studies were eligible for inclusion if >50% of the study population was aged between 15 and 25 years and the study included a physical activity intervention during or after cancer treatment. Studies were critically appraised using the Cochrane Risk of Bias tool. Six articles were identified as meeting the criteria, of which 2 were nonrandomized controlled studies and 4 were pilot studies, comprising a total of 135 AYA participants. The quality of studies was variable across all assessed domains. Direct comparison on intervention outcomes was not possible due to the heterogeneity of the studies; however, trends emerged on the feasibility, acceptability, and potential positive impact of physical activity in this cohort. This review highlights the lack of high-quality studies aimed to improve physical and psychosocial functioning in AYA patients across the cancer continuum. Physical activity interventions in this cohort appear to be feasible; however, larger randomized controlled trials are warranted to investigate the direct impact of interventions on health outcomes in this cohort.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 15 May 2019

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