Thorsen, L., Courneya, K. S., Stevinson, C., & Fosså, S. D. (2008). A systematic review of physical activity in prostate cancer survivors: outcomes, prevalence, and determinants. Supportive Care in Cancer, 16, 987–997.

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Search Strategy

Databases searched were MEDLINE, PubMed, EMBASE, Allied and Complementary Medicine (AMED), and PsycINFO. The dates encompassed by the search process were not specified by the authors.

Literature Evaluated

Trials that provided data on the outcomes of physical activity in survivors of prostate cancer were identified. Studies that did not disentangle the effects of physical activity from a package of multiple interventions (e.g., physical activity combined with diet, counseling, etc.) were excluded. Studies that included survivors of prostate cancer among other cancer survivors without presenting separate results for survivors of prostate cancer were also excluded.

Six studies that examined the effects of physical activity in survivors of prostate cancer were identified. Of these studies, the physical activity interventions were performed during radiotherapy in one study and during androgen depletion therapy in five.  Four studies were randomized trials, whereas two were uncontrolled trials.

Outcomes were physical functioning, body composition, fatigue, and quality of life.

Four studies examined the effects of supervised exercise programs, whereas two investigated the effects of home-based exercise programs. Three studies tested a resistance exercise program; one tested a home-based walking program; one tested a group-based lifestyle program designed to increase physical activity; and one used a home-based intervention with walking, stretching, and resistance activities with biweekly supervised group-based booster sessions. The length of the exercise programs ranged from four weeks to six months, with a median of 12 weeks.

Sample Characteristics

Sample sizes ranged from nine to 155 participants (median sample size = 48).


In four of the six studies in which fatigue was measured and reported, statistically significant improvements in fatigue were noted.  All studies demonstrated that physical activity was safe and feasible for survivors of prostate cancer receiving treatment.

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