Exercise Improves Quality of Life in Women with Breast Cancer

Cancer Connect

According to the results of a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, participation in an eight-week program of supervised aerobic exercise significantly improved the quality of life of women who had been treated for breast cancer.

Several previous studies have suggested that the risk of developing breast cancer may be reduced by regular physical activity. Some studies have also suggested that exercise during cancer treatment may lessen fatigue and emotional distress.

To explore the effects of exercise among women who have completed breast cancer treatment, researchers in the U.K. conducted a study among 108 women who were one to three years beyond the end of breast cancer treatment. Prior to the study, none of the women engaged in regular physical activity.

Study participants were assigned to one of the three groups:

  1. Supervised aerobic exercise therapy
  2. Exercise-placebo (body conditioning)
  3. Usual care

Women assigned to the aerobic exercise group participated in one-on-one sessions with an exercise specialist three times per week for eight weeks. The sessions lasted for 50 minutes and involved moderate-intensity exercise.

Women assigned to the exercise-placebo group also attended 50-minute sessions with an exercise specialist, but the sessions involved light-intensity body conditioning and stretching rather than aerobic exercise.

Women in the usual care group continued their lives as usual.

  • Compared to the women in the usual care group, women in the aerobic exercise group reported significantly better quality of life.
  • Psychological health outcomes were modestly improved in women in the two intervention groups (aerobic exercise and exercise-placebo) compared to women in the usual care group.

The researchers conclude, Exercise therapy had large, clinically meaningful, short-term beneficial effects on [quality of life] in women treated for breast cancer.

Reference: Daley AJ, Crank H, Saxton JM, Mutrie N, Coleman R, Roalfe A. Randomized trial of exercise therapy in women treated for breast cancer. Journal of Clinical Oncology. 2007;25:1713-1721.

Related News:Exercise Program Benefits Women with Early Breast Cancer (2/21/2007)

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