Breast Cancer Survivors' Experiences With an Activity Tracker Integrated Into a Supervised Exercise Program: Qualitative Study

Hoi San Wu, Roxanne Gal, Niek C van Sleeuwen, Aarnout C Brombacher, Wijnand A IJsselsteijn, Anne M May, Evelyn M Monninkhof

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


BACKGROUND: There is growing evidence that physical activity is related to a better prognosis after a breast cancer diagnosis, whereas sedentary behavior is associated with worse outcomes. It is therefore important to stimulate physical activity and reduce sedentary time among patients with breast cancer. Activity trackers offer a new opportunity for interventions directed at stimulating physical activity behavior change.

OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to explore the experience of patients with breast cancer who used an activity tracker in addition to a supervised exercise intervention in the randomized UMBRELLA Fit trial.

METHODS: A total of 10 patients with breast cancer who completed cancer treatment participated in semistructured in-depth interviews about their experience with and suggestions for improvements for the Jawbone UP2 activity tracker.

RESULTS: The activity tracker motivated women to be physically active and created more awareness of their (sedentary) lifestyles. The women indicated that the automatically generated advice (received via the Jawbone UP app) lacked individualization and was not applicable to their personal situations (ie, having been treated for cancer). Furthermore, women felt that the daily step goal was one-dimensional, and they preferred to incorporate other physical activity goals. The activity tracker's inability to measure strength exercises was a noted shortcoming. Finally, women valued personal feedback about the activity tracker from the physiotherapist.

CONCLUSIONS: Wearing an activity tracker raised lifestyle awareness in patients with breast cancer. The women also reported additional needs not addressed by the system. Potential improvements include a more realistic total daily physical activity representation, personalized advice, and personalized goals.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere10820
JournalJMIR mHealth and uHealth
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 21 Feb 2019


  • activity trackers
  • breast cancer
  • physical activity
  • qualitative research
  • sedentary behavior


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