A scoping review examining the integration of exercise services in clinical oncology settings

Elochukwu F. Ezenwankwo*, Daniel A. Nnate, Godspower D. Usoro, Chimdimma P. Onyeso, Ijeoma B. Anieto, Sam C. Ibeneme, Yumna Albertus, Victoria E. Lambert, Antoninus O. Ezeukwu, Ukachukwu O. Abaraogu, Delva Shamley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Addressing questions surrounding the feasibility of embedding exercise service units in clinical oncology settings is imperative for developing a sustainable exercise-oncology clinical pathway. We examined available literature and offered practical recommendations to support evidence-based practice, policymaking, and further investigations.

Methods: Four thousand eight hundred sixty-three unique records identified in Embase, CINAHL, MEDLINE, Web of Science Core Collection, and ProQuest (Health and Medicine) were screened for studies that recruited cancer patients, assessed the co-location of exercise service and cancer treatment units, and reported findings on service implementation. Evidence from six studies providing data from over 30 programs was integrated using narrative synthesis.

Results: Service implementation was relatively modest across the included studies. Exercise services were delivered by physiotherapists, exercise physiologists, and kinesiologists and funded mainly through grants and private donations, with staff salaries accruing as the major expense. Service penetration, adoption, and acceptability were generally low. However, studies recorded high clinician/patient satisfaction. Major barriers to service integration were limited funding, lack of detailed implementation plan, and low organizational buy-in. Common reasons for non-utilization, missed sessions, and dropouts were lack of interest, unwellness, hospital readmission, disease progression, and adverse skeletal events.

Conclusion: Implementing exercise services in clinical oncology settings seems an effective approach for increasing access to exercise-based rehabilitation for individuals on cancer treatment. While this model appears feasible for patients/clinicians, efforts are required to optimize service integration both in the short and long term. Key priorities include seeking [local] actions to address issues relating to funding and organizational buy-in. Important considerations may include developing an implementation plan to guide the implementation process, expanding the patient core management team to include staff from the exercise rehabilitation unit, and exploring the role of patient feedback in increasing clinician participation (e.g., treating oncologists and nurses) in the referral process. Future research should consider effective strategies to promote patients’ sense of self-efficacy and behavioral control and, further, the place of audit and feedback in improving exercise service delivery and overall service implementation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number236
Number of pages15
JournalBMC Health Services Research
Publication statusPublished - 21 Feb 2022


  • exercise-based rehabilitation
  • service integration
  • reach
  • adoption
  • cost
  • utilization
  • cancer care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


Dive into the research topics of 'A scoping review examining the integration of exercise services in clinical oncology settings'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this