Physical activity (PA) affects fatigue and mental health in cancer survivors favorably, but participation in PA interventions tends to be low. More participants may be reached by home-based PA due to greater accessibility and self-monitoring. This systematic review therefore evaluated the effects of home-based PA of low to moderate intensity on symptoms of fatigue, depression, and anxiety among cancer survivors.
PubMed, CINAHL, PsycINFO, and Web of Science were systematically searched for randomized controlled trials. We included investigations of home-based PA interventions in adults treated curatively for cancer and evaluating fatigue, depression, or anxiety as outcomes. We performed a random-effect meta-analysis for the effects of PA interventions on fatigue in the short and long term. Sub-group analyses were performed for the frequency of counseling. Standardized mean differences (SMD) and 95% confidence intervals are reported.
Eleven articles comprising 1066 participants were included: 77% had a history of breast cancer, 14% of ovarian cancer, 4% of colorectal cancer, 4% of prostate cancer and 1% of “other” cancer (not specified). Concerning the outcomes, nine articles reported on fatigue and two reported on depression or anxiety. Meta-analyses showed a significant effect of home-based PA on fatigue immediately post-intervention (SMD = 0.22 [0.06-0.37]), at 3 months’ follow-up (SMD = 0.27 [0.04-0.51]), and at 6-9 months’ follow-up (SMD = 0.31 [0.08-0.55]). PA interventions that used frequent counseling were associated with larger improvements in fatigue than those using no or infrequent counseling.
Home-based PA interventions can reduce fatigue among adult cancer survivors for up to 9 months, and frequent counseling may improve the benefits of these interventions.

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