"It has to be more than exercise": Exploring optimal physical activity program delivery for breast cancer survivors across multiple stakeholder groups in cancer care


Physical activity (PA) is an effective strategy for mitigating the negative physical and psychosocial effects of breast cancer treatment. Accordingly, PA programs have been developed to enhance clinical cancer care; however, many communities in Ontario remain without such programs. Further, it is unclear what constitutes an optimal PA program for breast cancer survivors. An integrated knowledge translation approach, defined as the involvement of knowledge users in the co-creation of knowledge, can assist in identifying optimal aspects of PA program delivery for breast cancer survivors. Consequently, the purpose of this study was to explore ideal PA program delivery for breast cancer survivors across multiple stakeholder groups in the cancer care community. Breast cancer survivors, health care professionals (e.g., oncologists, nurses, or allied health care professionals) and community-based PA program providers participated in four 60-minute heterogeneous focus group discussions. Broad discussions about the ideal program environment, program delivery team, and core program practices were encouraged. Focus groups were audio recorded, transcribed verbatim, and subjected to thematic analysis. Participants recommended that breast cancer survivors in clinical PA programs should have opportunities to experience wellness, a collective identity, cancer literacy, and self-efficacy. When possible, programs should be delivered in the community, accessible from an environmental and financial perspective, and integrated within the regional network of cancer care. These findings can be extended to provide a foundation for researchers and practitioners aiming to establish, deliver, and evaluate optimal PA interventions and programming for breast cancer survivors.

Acknowledgments: The Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation