Closing the gap: An environmental scan to identify physical activity resources for breast cancer survivors in Ontario


Physical activity (PA) can mitigate several negative physical and psychosocial effects following breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. Although PA is safe, feasible, and effective for breast cancer survivors (BCS), few are sufficiently active at levels known to yield health benefits. Many BCS experience a gap in informational support following BCS treatment completion and are unsure of how to access appropriate and effective cancer-specific PA resources. Further, understanding that PA program providers, instructors and trainers have an impact on survivors' experience and safety, little is known about existing PA educational resources for qualified exercise professionals (QEPs). Accordingly, the purpose of this study was to identify cancer-specific PA resources for BCS and QEPs in Ontario. Systematic scoping review methodologies were adapted to identify cancer-specific PA programs and educational resources, including cancer-specific rehabilitation (i.e., medically-led programs focused on recovery following diagnosis and treatment for cancer), exercise (i.e., structured exercise programs supervised by QEPs), recreation (i.e., low intensity activity supervised by QEPs), sport (i.e., team-based recreational pursuits) programs, and post-secondary courses and professional certifications in exercise and cancer. Our search identified 14 exercise programs, 8 rehabilitation programs, 39 recreation programs for BCS, and 11 post-secondary courses and 20 professional certifications for QEPs in Ontario. Practically, this information will be used to create a comprehensive inventory of cancer-specific PA programs and educational resources for BCS and QEPs respectively ( Further, this inventory may also serve as a catalyst for the future development and implementation of cancer-specific resources for BCS and QEPs in Ontario.

Acknowledgments: Funding for the project was provided by a Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation Grant (#499062) awarded to Catherine Sabiston.