Moderate intensity physical activity in women with breast cancer has been reported to improve physical and psychological outcomes. Yet, initiation and adherence to a routine physical activity program for cancer survivors after therapy may be challenging.
The purpose of this study was to determine the feasibility and effect of a community-based exercise intervention on physical and psychological symptoms and quality of life (QOL) in breast cancer survivors.
A one group pre-post test design was used to evaluate a thrice weekly, 4 to 6 month supervised exercise intervention on symptoms and QOL. Data were collected at baseline and end of the intervention, using the Breast Cancer Prevention Trial Checklist, the Symptom Distress Scale, Centers for Epidemiology Scale for Depression and the Medical Outcomes Short Form.
There were 26 participants with an average age of 51.3 years and most were married, well educated and employed. The intervention was delivered at 3 community fitness centers and adherence ranged from 75%-98%. Vasomotor, musculoskeletal, and cognitive symptoms were common but only muscle stiffness, fatigue and depression significantly changed over time (p=0.04, p =0.05 p=0.01 respectively). QOL improved significantly in the areas of physical, emotional and social function, pain, vitality and mental health.