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Use of Wearable Activity-Monitoring Technologies to Promote Physical Activity in Cancer Survivors: Challenges and Opportunities for Improved Cancer Care

Keats, Melanie R.; Yu, Xing; Sweeney Magee, Molly; Forbes, Cynthia C.; Grandy, Scott A.; Sweeney, Ellen; Dummer, Trevor J.B.


Melanie R. Keats

Xing Yu

Molly Sweeney Magee

Scott A. Grandy

Ellen Sweeney

Trevor J.B. Dummer


The aim of this review was to explore the acceptability, opportunities, and challenges associated with wearable activity-monitoring technology to increase physical activity (PA) behavior in cancer survivors. A search of Medline, Embase, CINAHL, and SportDiscus was conducted from 1 January 2011 through 3 October 2022. The search was limited to English language, and peer-reviewed original research. Studies were included if they reported the use of an activity monitor in adults (+18 years) with a history of cancer with the intent to motivate PA behavior. Our search identified 1832 published articles, of which 28 met inclusion/exclusion criteria. Eighteen of these studies included post-treatment cancer survivors, eight were on active cancer treatment, and two were long-term cancer survivor studies. ActiGraph accelerometers were the primary technology used to monitor PA behaviors, with Fitbit as the most commonly utilized self-monitoring wearable technology. Overall, wearable activity monitors were found to be an acceptable and useful tool in improving self-awareness, motivating behavioral change, and increasing PA levels. Self-monitoring wearable activity devices have a positive impact on short-term PA behaviors in cancer survivors, but the increase in PA gradually attenuated through the maintenance phase. Further study is needed to evaluate and increase the sustainability of the use of wearable technologies to support PA in cancer survivors.


Keats, M. R., Yu, X., Sweeney Magee, M., Forbes, C. C., Grandy, S. A., Sweeney, E., & Dummer, T. J. (2023). Use of Wearable Activity-Monitoring Technologies to Promote Physical Activity in Cancer Survivors: Challenges and Opportunities for Improved Cancer Care. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 20(6), Article 4784.

Journal Article Type Review
Acceptance Date Mar 6, 2023
Online Publication Date Mar 2, 2023
Publication Date Mar 8, 2023
Deposit Date Apr 12, 2023
Publicly Available Date Apr 13, 2023
Journal International journal of environmental research and public health
Electronic ISSN 1660-4601
Publisher MDPI
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 20
Issue 6
Article Number 4784
Keywords Physical activity; Wearable activity monitors; Technology; Motivation; Behavior change; Cancer survivors; Scoping review
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Copyright Statement
Copyright: © 2023 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and<br /> conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (

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