Researchers at Edith Cowan University in Australia included 89 women in this study – 43 participated in the exercise portion; the control group did not.
Practitioners did a 12-week home program. It included weekly resistance training sessions and 30 to 40 minutes of aerobic exercise.
The researchers found that patients who exercised recovered from cancer-related fatigue more quickly during and after radiotherapy compared to the control group. Exercisers also saw a significant increase in health-related quality of life, which can include measures of emotional, physical, and social well-being.
“The amount of exercise was intended to progressively increase, with the ultimate goal of participants meeting the national guideline for recommended exercise levels,” said study leader Georgios Mavropalias, a postdoctoral researcher in the School of Medical Sciences and the Health.
“However, the exercise programs were relative to the fitness ability of the participants, and we found exercise dosages still much lower than recommended in the [Australian] national guidelines can have significant effects on cancer-related fatigue and health-related quality of life during and after radiotherapy,” said Mavropalias in a university press release.
Australian national guidelines for cancer patients call for 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise five days a week or 20 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise three days a week. This is in addition to strength training exercises two to three days a week.
About 1 in 8 women and 1 in 833 men are diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetimes, according to Living Beyond Breast Cancer, a non-profit organization based in Pennsylvania.
The study showed that a home exercise program during radiotherapy is safe, feasible and effective, said study supervisor Rob Newton, professor of exercise medicine.
“A home protocol may be preferable for patients as it is low cost, does not require travel or personal supervision, and can be performed at a time and place of the patient’s choice,” he said in the statement. These benefits can provide substantial comfort to patients.”
Study participants who started an exercise program tended to stick with it. They reported significant improvements in light, moderate, and vigorous physical activity up to one year after finishing the program.
“The exercise program in this study appears to have induced changes in participants’ physical activity behavior,” said Mavropalias. “Thus, in addition to the direct beneficial effects in reducing cancer-related fatigue and improving health-related quality of life during radiotherapy, home exercise protocols may result in changes in participants’ physical activity that persist well after the end of the treatment. program.”
The results of the study were recently published in the journal Breast cancer🇧🇷
The American Cancer Society has more on exercise with cancer.
SOURCE: Edith Cowan University, press release, November 20, 2022