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What are the barriers and enablers to physical activity participation in women with ovarian cancer? A rapid review of the literature.

Morrison, Kittani S.; Paterson, Catherine; Coltman, Celeste E.; Toohey, Kellie


Kittani S. Morrison

Catherine Paterson

Celeste E. Coltman

Kellie Toohey


Background: Engagement in regular physical activity is recommended for women diagnosed with ovarian cancer due to aggressive treatment approaches, an increased risk of disease recurrence and low survival rates. Objectives: To synthesize the current available evidence identifying barriers and enablers to participation in physical activity among women diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Data Sources: Peer-reviewed articles in electronic databases including CINAHL, Cochrane, Medline, Psych INFO and Scopus and key studies’ reference lists. Conclusion: Although evidence pertaining to the study population was limited, the findings of this review suggest women with ovarian cancer experience similar barriers and enablers to the general population and other cancer cohorts. The primary barriers to physical activity participation reported by this population were treatment or disease related side effects, fear of injury or falling and the absence of physical activity counselling. Key enablers reported to facilitate physical activity participation were the implementation of individualized interventions with targeted goals in addition to support from health and medical professionals. Future research on ovarian cancer populations is warranted to further explore perceived barriers and enablers. Implications for Nursing Practice: Nurses working within the oncology field are well positioned clinically to facilitate physical activity engagement and identify and overcome barriers to participation within a population that experiences high mortality rates and disease recurrence.


MORRISON, K.S., PATERSON, C., COLTMAN, C.E. and TOOHEY, K. 2020. What are the barriers and enablers to physical activity participation in women with ovarian cancer? A rapid review of the literature. Seminars in oncology nursing [online], 36(5), article ID 151069. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 2, 2020
Online Publication Date Oct 2, 2020
Publication Date Oct 31, 2020
Deposit Date Oct 12, 2020
Publicly Available Date Oct 3, 2021
Journal Seminars in Oncology Nursing
Print ISSN 0749-2081
Electronic ISSN 1878-3449
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 36
Issue 5
Article Number 151069
Keywords Ovarian cancer; Physical activity; Exercise; Barriers; Facilitators; Rapid review
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