Exploring cancer centres for physical activity and sedentary behaviour support for breast cancer survivors

A. J. Fong, J. M. Jones, G. Faulkner, C. M. Sabiston



As many as 90% of breast cancer survivors report low levels of physical activity and spend approximately 70% of the day sedentary. This lack of physical activity engagement suggests an apparent knowledge-to-action gap, where survivors may not be receiving information about health benefits of physical activity and health consequences of sedentary behaviour in the context of their cancer. The primary purpose of this study was to evaluate cancer centers for physical activity and sedentary behavior information and infrastructure. A secondary aim was to evaluate the information that is accessible to breast cancer survivors in cancer clinics. It was hypothesized that few centres would provide opportunities for physical activity and few materials would be collected of high quality.


A built-environment scan of the 14 regional cancer centres in Ontario and an evaluation of the physical activity textual materials available at the cancer centres were completed. Data analyses included descriptive statistics, proportions, and inter-rater reliability.


The infrastructure of the cancer centres provided few opportunities for dissemination of information related to physical activity through signs and printed notices. Televisions were in all waiting rooms, which may provide a unique opportunity for physical activity and sedentary behavior information dissemination. Textual materials gathered were rated as trustworthy, used some behaviour change techniques (e.g., information about consequences of lack of physical activity, barrier identification, and set graded tasks) and were aesthetically pleasing.


These findings provide insight into environmental characteristics that can be used to modify the current environment to encourage physical activity.


Breast cancer; physical activity; sedentary behaviour; environmental scans; text materials

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3747/co.25.3858

Copyright © 2019 Multimed Inc.
ISSN: 1198-0052 (Print) ISSN: 1718-7729 (Online)