A systematic review of multimodal prehabilitation in breast cancer

Kellie Toohey, Maddy Hunter, Karen McKinnon, Tamara Casey, Murray R. Turner, Suzanne Taylor, Catherine Paterson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Breast cancer is the most prevalent malignancy in women. Prehabilitation may offer improvements in physical and psychological wellbeing among participants prior to treatment. This systematic review aimed to determine the efficacy of prehabilitation in participants diagnosed with breast cancer.

A systematic review was performed according to Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) Guidelines. Studies exploring the impact of prehabilitation in participants with breast cancer were included. Studies were assessed independently according to pre-eligibility criteria, with data extraction and methodological quality assessed in parallel.

3184 records were identified according to our search criteria, and 14 articles were included. Articles comprised of quantitative randomised controlled trials (n = 7), quantitative non-randomised studies (n = 5), a qualitative study (n = 1), and a mixed-method study (n = 1). The majority of selected studies completed exercise programs (n = 4) or had exercise components (n = 2), with two focusing on upper-limb exercise. Five articles reported complementary and alternative therapies (n = 5). Two articles reported smoking cessation (n = 2), with a single study reporting multi-modal prehabilitation (n = 1). Mostly, prehabilitation improved outcomes including physical function, quality of life, and psychosocial variables (P < 0.05). The qualitative data identified preferences for multimodal prehabilitation, compared to unimodal with an interest in receiving support for longer.

Prehabilitation for patients with breast cancer is an emerging research area that appears to improve outcomes, however, ensuring that adequate intervention timeframes, follow-up, and population groups should be considered for future investigations.

Implications for Cancer Survivors
The implementation of prehabilitation interventions for individuals diagnosed with breast cancer should be utilised by multidisciplinary teams to provide holistic care to patients as it has the potential to improve outcomes across the cancer care trajectory.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-37
Number of pages37
JournalBreast Cancer Research and Treatment
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023


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