A news release from the Cancer News Room:

Physical activity after breast cancer diagnosis has been linked with prolonged survival and improved quality of life, but most participants in a large breast cancer study did not meet national physical activity guidelines after they were diagnosed. African-American women were less likely to meet the guidelines than white women. Published early online in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, the findings indicate that efforts to promote physical activity in breast cancer patients may need to be significantly enhanced.

The US Department of Health and Human Services, as well as the American Cancer Society, recommends adults engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity (or an equivalent combination) each week for general health benefits and for chronic disease prevention and management.

To test whether there is capacity for improvement in the physical activity levels of women with breast cancer, Brionna Hair, a doctoral candidate in epidemiology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and her colleagues examined levels of and changes in physical activity following breast cancer diagnosis, overall and by race, in a population-based study of breast cancer patients. The study assessed pre- and post-diagnosis physical activity levels in 1,735 women aged 20 to 74 years who were diagnosed with invasive breast cancer between 2008 and 2011 in 44 counties of North Carolina.

The researchers found that only 35 percent of breast cancer survivors met current physical activity guidelines post-diagnosis. A decrease in activity approximately six months after diagnosis was reported by 59 percent of patients, with the average participant reducing activity by 15 metabolic equivalent hours—equivalent to about five hours per week of brisk walking. When compared with white women, African-American women were about 40 percent less likely to meet national physical activity guidelines post-diagnosis, although their reported weekly post-diagnosis physical activity was not significantly different from that of White women (12 vs 14 metabolic equivalent hours). Hair noted that African-American women experience higher mortality from breast cancer than other groups in the United States.

“Medical care providers should discuss the role physical activity plays in improving breast cancer outcomes with their patients, and strategies that may be successful in increasing physical activity among breast cancer patients need to be comprehensively evaluated and implemented,” Hair said.

[Pat’s note:]  I could’t find info in the research that tested specifically for TNBC, but much previous research has shown a reduction in risk of recurrence for women with TNBC who exercised regularly.  Likewise, African-American women who get breast cancer are more likely to get TNBC than are white women.  I cover all of this in my book, Surviving Triple-Negative Breast Cancer.

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One thought on “Breast Cancer Patients Don't Meet Exercise Guidelines

  1. Anonymous says:

    This is so encouraging to me as I am African American TNBC and I walk 4 miles everyday. I have to believe this is making a difference in keeping me alive!

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