Breast Cancer not for Couch Potatoes

Breast cancer patients who are physically active fare better

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D

(RxWiki News) Breast cancer isn't for sissies - that's for sure. A woman needs strength just to get through the ordeal. And the more active she is throughout the process, the better off she's going to be.

Women who are physically active during breast cancer treatment are better able to deal with side effects and feel better emotionally and psychologically.

"Ladies, get and stay off your butts!"

Research out of the University of Miami (UM) shows that active breast cancer patients experience less depression, less fatigue and have a better overall quality of life.

"Women who are physically active may also have more confidence in their own ability to continue with family-related, household, work-related, or social activities, which bring meaning and satisfaction to their lives," says Jamie M. Stagl, MS, doctoral student in Clinical Health Psychology in the College of Arts and Sciences at UM and lead author of the study.

Researchers looked at and analyzed the physical activity of 240 women diagnosed with non-metastatic breast cancer. Participants were recruited four to ten weeks after surgery.

The women attended either 10-week Cognitive Behavioral Stress Management program or a one-day "self-help" group. Researchers monitored the reported physical activity levels  of the women.

Stress management has already been shown to improve breast cancer treatment in studies previously conducted by these researchers. This study looked at the additional benefits derived by physical activity.

"Women who increased the amount of time they spent being physically active between the weeks after surgery and their adjuvant therapy had less 'fatigue disruption' - their fatigue did not disrupt their ability to perform everyday activities," Stagl says.

Research is considered preliminary before it's published in a peer-reviewed journal.

This study was funded by the National Cancer Institute.

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Review Date: 
April 12, 2012
Last Updated:
April 14, 2012